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Valdosta State basketball sweeps weekend series over Shorter

Men, women remain unbeaten
Posted at 7:34 PM, Jan 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-09 19:34:50-05

WTXL - (VALDOSTA STATE ATHLETICS) — MEN

VALDOSTA, Ga. – The No. 9 Blazers cap off the weekend with a win Saturday afternoon over Shorter by a final score of 86-70.

VSU (5-0, 5-0 Gulf South Conference) saw Guardian Bank Player of the Game Jakari Gallon who recorded his first career double-double from a career high 17 points along with a game high 12 boards.

The Hawks (1-3, 1-3 GSC) were led again by 19 points from senior Charles Botchway, going 8 for 16 (.500) from the field with one ball from deep. The Hawks finished with four players in the double digits for points while shooting 64% from the free throw line.

The Blazers came out hot, gaining a 20-point lead seven minutes into play with help from the starting five and the bench to give Valdosta a 24-4 advantage. The Hawks were able to chip away at the lead as a three-pointer put Shorter down by just 13, but freshman Ricky Brown was able to answer to stop the Hawks run. The Blazers were able to go up by 20 once more with less than two minutes to play after a lay-in and one from Gallon. A trio of points came from the Hawks as time was winding down but saw the Blazers maintain a controlling 17-point lead going into the locker room.

The Blazers went 16 for 33 from the field (.488) while the Hawks shot 12 for 32 (.375), as the Blazers hit five baskets from deep (.455). The Blazers controlled the boards during the first 20, coming down with 22 where the Hawks only recorded 15. Along with its struggles on the offensive end, the Hawks turned the ball over ten times and shot .083 from beyond the arch.

The Blazers kept on pushing after the half, going up by a game high 27 points after Imoras Agee slammed down a fastbreak dunk. Valdosta was able to keep its lead hovering around in the 20-point category but a late push from the Hawks cut the Blazer lead to as little as 12 with less than three minutes left to play. A pair of baskets from Jacolbey Owens gave the Blazers the extra edge and give the team a 16-point lead, one that was too much for the Hawks as time expired.

The Blazers outshot the Hawks as a whole, going 34 for 69 (.493) from the field with nine threes opposed to the Hawks who shot 29 for 67 (.433) from the field with just three balls from deep. 26 of the Blazers points came off the bench along with 44 points scored in the paint. The Hawks took advantage on the Blazers turnovers, scoring 17 points off turnovers which was eight more than Valdosta.

VSU is back in action against West Florida Tuesday, Jan. 12 at home. Fans can access links to live stats, audio/video streaming, ticket information and more at vstateblazers.com on the men's basketball schedule page

WOMEN

ROME, Ga. – The Valdosta State women's basketball team won its seventh-straight game to start the season with a 68-48 victory at Shorter for the weekend sweep. VSU graduate transfer Kwajelin Farrar posted her fourth double-double of the season in the victory leading three players in double figures. The Lady Blazers raced out to a blistering 37-8 lead through the first half en route to the victory.

The Lady Blazers (7-0, 7-0 Gulf South Conference) finished 26 of 70 from the field for 37.1 percent. Farrar went 8 of 11 from the field with 12 rebounds and a team-high 17 points leading three Lady Blazers in double figures as she was named Guardian Bank Blazer Athlete of the Game. Freshman Alexandria Smith was 5 of 9 from the field, 2 of 2 for beyond the arc and 4 of 4 from the line for 16 points and five rebounds, while senior Kayla Bonilla added 11 points. VSU was 6 of 29 from range and 10 of 17 from the line, while pulling down 45 rebounds, including 15 on the offensive end and had eight steals.

Shorter (1-7, 1-7 GSC) had a game-high 18 points from Jasmine Gaines off the bench. She was 6 of 16 from the field and 6 of 8 from the line, while narrowly missing a double-double with nine rebounds as the lone SU player in double figures.

The Lady Blazer "D" dominated the first half, holding Shorter to just eight points combined in the first two frames - five points in the first quarter and three in the second. It marked the lowest first half output against VSU since women's basketball moved to quarters in 2015-16. Shorter was just 2 of 22 from the field for the first half and didn't made a field goal attempt in the second quarter (0 of 13).

For the game, Shorter shot 25.9 percent on 15 of 58, while going just 2 of 19 from beyond the arc and 16 of 20 from the line. The Lady Hawks played much better in the second half, however, going 13 of 36 from the field, while going 13 of 16 from the line, including 10 of 12 from the stripe in the third quarter.

VSU held a 36-16 lead in points in the paint for the game and capitalized on second chance opportunities to the tune of a 20-3 lead in second chance points. The Lady Blazers held a 45-31 lead in rebounding and 15-11 on the offensive end.

Following a jumper from Gaines with 6:32 left in the first quarter pulling the Hawks within 7-5, VSU closed the frame on an 11-0 run for an 18-5 lead through one frame. The run continued in the second quarter as the Lady Blazers stretched the run to 27-0 for a 34-5 lead with 2:49 left in the half. Following two free throws from Shorter, for the first two points of the quarter, a triple from junior Abby Rouse followed and SU added one more charity toss for a 37-8 Lady Blazer lead at intermission.

The Lady Hawks shot 50 percent for the quarter in the third on 9 of 18 from the field and 10 of 12 from the line as they outscored VSU 28-17, turning the favor on the Lady Blazers as VSU normally outscores the opposition in the third quarter so far this season. A pair of big runs by the Lady Hawks pulled Shorter within 54-36 at the end of three quarters.

Smith buried a much-needed triple early in the fourth for VSU pushing the lead back over 20 at 57-36 with 9:48 left. VSU held the Lady Hawks at arm's length for the rest of the game as SU cut the deficit under 20 late, but two free throws from junior Shanice Nelson made the final margin 68-48.

The Lady Blazers, who have the best record in the GSC and are off to their best start since the 2003-04 season when that team won the first ten games of the season. The Lady Blazers continue next week on the road at Lee for a pair of games Jan. 15 and Jan. 16.

VSU then will return home to host Shorter on Jan. 22-23 at The Complex. The seven-game winning streak also ties the longest winning streak since the 2017-18 season when the team also won seven games from Feb. 1 to Feb. 22, 2018.