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Valdosta State Lady Blazers win on the road, men fall at home to Lee

Valdosta State
Posted at 8:07 PM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 20:07:17-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. - (Valdosta State athletics) — MEN
The No. 5 Blazers fell for the second-straight game against Gulf South Conference foe Lee Saturday afternoon by a final score of 74-77.

VSU (6-2, 6-2 Gulf South Conference) had help from Guardian Bank Player of the Game Imoras Agee who recorded 13 points, shooting six for nine (.667) from the field while coming down with a game-high six boards.

The Flames (4-1, 4-1 GSC) were led again by 22 points from junior Quay Kennedy, going five for nine (.556) from the field and two for four (.500) from deep with eight rebounds. The Flames finished with four players in the double digits for points and shot .476 from behind the three-point line.

The Blazers were able to get on the board first, but a cat and mouse game saw five lead changes for each team along with the four times the game was knotted even. The Blazers saw its deficit be as much as six with a hair more than eight minutes left to play in the half. A pair of free-throws from junior Maurice Gordon and a lay-in by senior Burke Putnam cut the deficit quickly to just two. Gordon was able to tie the game up a few minutes later at 29 and freshman Ricky Brown gave the Blazers a slight cushion, sinking a deep ball. The Flames were able to cut the Blazer lead to just one point at 36-35 but a corner three at the buzzer from graduate transfer Travis Bianco gave the Blazers a 39-35 lead at half.

The Blazers went 16 for 27 (.593) from the field while the Flames shot 11 for 24 (.458), as the Blazers were able to hit three baskets from deep. The Blazers were able to control the boards, coming down with 17 opposed to the Flames 12. The Valdosta State bench made up more than half of the first half points, accounting for 24 of its 39 points.

The Blazers saw its halftime lead diminish as a layup and three pointer from the Flames gave it a one point lead early on. Similar to the first half, the final 20 minutes of play saw nine lead changes and a pair of ties with the Blazers largest lead being three points. Tied at 47 after a good layup from redshirt sophomore Jakari Gallon with 13:23 left in the half, Lee was able to find its rhythm and hold the lead until a little more than four minutes left to play. A pair of layups from Bianco and Putnam gave the Blazers its three-point lead, but the Flames marched back to regain the lead. Agee hit a big three with 1:46 left to play to cut the Blazer deficit to just one but a few good free throws from the Flames gave it the advantage to beat out the Blazers 77-74. The Blazers have now lost its last four matchups against Lee and have dropped two-straight games for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.

The Blazers finished the game shooting 30 for 67 (.448) from the field while the Flames went 23 for 43 (.535). The Flames took advantage of its three-point shooting, going 10 for 21 (.476) from deep while the Blazers only sank six threes off 19 attempts. The Blazers saw 46 of its points come in the paint as well as 32 off the bench. Valdosta State controlled the boards throughout the game, finishing with 37 rebounds, six more than the Flames.

VSU will head on the road to play against Shorter Friday, Jan. 22, and Saturday, Jan. 23. 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
CLEVELAND, Tn. - Behind a double-double from Valdosta State graduate transfer Kwajelin Farrar and 19 points from senior Kayla Bonilla, the No. 8 Lady Blazers responded following the first loss of the season Friday, with a 63-57 victory at No. 16 Lee Saturday afternoon.

The victory snapped Lee's 30-game home winning streak as the Lady Blazers became the first team to win there since West Florida won on Dec. 17, 2018. VSU shot much better Saturday, going 20 of 47 from the field (42.6%), but struggled from the arc at just 3 of 14. The Lady Blazers made up for it going 20 of 25 from the line, while Lee was just 9 of 11 from the charity stripe. Lee's winning streak was the fourth-longest current streak in NCAA Division II heading into Saturday's game after the Flames' 63-54 win over VSU Friday evening in the first of the two games this weekend.

Farrar, who was named the Guardian Bank Blazer Athlete of the Game, finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds on 4 of 8 shooting for her team-leading fifth double-double of the season, while sophomore Jirah Ards added 13 points and senior Kayla Bonilla had a game-high 19 points. The Lady Blazers avenged their first loss of the season which came last night in a 63-54 loss also at Lee.

VSU improved to 2-1 on the year against Lee with Saturday's win and a thrilling 80-76 overtime win over Lee in Valdosta on Dec. 19, 2020. VSU regained the top spot in the East Division of the Gulf South Conference, improving to 8-1 on the year, while Lee fell to 5-2.

The Flames had three players in double figures, led by 13 points from Hannah Garrett, while Haley Schubert chipped in 11 points and Julia Duncan added 10. The Lady Blazer "D" held Lee to just 19 of 57 shooting (33.3%), while the Flames stayed within striking distance, going 10 of 24 from deep. VSU held a 40-29 in rebounding for the game.

In a role reversal from yesterday, where VSU was trailing for much of the game Friday, it was Lee on the short end of the ledger for a majority of the game Saturday. VSU held the lead for 33:30, while Lee led for just 4:14 and the game was tied for 2:15. There were two ties and one lead change.

VSU held a 51-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter and built the lead to as many as ten with a jumper from junior Abby Rouse with 7:21 left at 55-45.

Like good teams, Lee kept chipping away and cut the deficit to two with 1:18 left on a trey from Halle Hughes for a 59-57 VSU lead. One of two tosses from Bonilla pushed the lead to three at 60-57 with 48 ticks left. Farrar came up with a huge steal and Ards also had a theft in the final 17 seconds. She made one of two free throws for a 61-57 lead with 10 seconds as Farrar came up with clutch offensive rebound off Ards' miss. Ards then put in two more tosses for a 63-57 score with six seconds left. Ards made 3 of 4 free throws in the closing minute as she was 6 of 8 from the line, while Bonilla went 9 of 11 from the stripe for the game. VSU was 5 of 6 from the line in the first half as a team and was 15 of 19 from the stripe in the second.

Rouse gave VSU its first lead of the game with a jumper for an 8-6 advantage with 4:53 left in the first quarter. She then added another jumper off her block and rebound for a 12-6 lead with 2:15 left in the quarter. VSU led 13-11 through one frame.

Lee scored the first bucket of the second quarter, but a 9-0 run by the Lady Blazers followed, highlighted by a trey from senior Delaney Bernard and an old fashion three-point play from freshman Alexandria Smith for a 22-13 lead with 5:28 left in the half. Lee cut the deficit back to three late in the frame capped on a trey from Schubert, but Ards had the last laugh of the half with a triple at the buzzer for a 29-23 VSU advantage.

The third quarter proved to be the highest scoring quarter of the game as both teams combined for 43 points with 22 from VSU and 21 from Lee. Ards pushed the VSU lead to eight at 31-23 early in the frame, but a triple from Garrett and a bucket from Duncan quickly cut the deficit to three at 31-28. Lee's Maddie Long made two free throws and Hannah Garrett was fouled on a three pointer as Lee cut the deficit to one with five free throws at 34-33 VSU.

Bonilla had the answer with three charity tosses in four attempts for a 37-33 lead. Following a bucket and free throw from Farrar, Hughes connected on a trey for a 40-38 VSU lead with 4:43 left in the frame. The Lady Blazers then used an 11-3 run for a 51-41 lead with 58 seconds left in the quarter. Camryn Grant hit a trey at the buzzer, cutting the VSU lead to seven at 51-44 heading to the fourth.

The Lady Blazers finally return home after the four-game road trip to host Shorter for a pair of games next Friday and Saturday at The Complex. Friday's game tips at 7 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. start Saturday. Mike Chason will have the call of the games on 94.3 WJEM FM and foxsportsvaldosta.com.