Blazers > Upset Bid Falls Short Against Shorter

| January 30, 2015


ROME The Shorter Hawks denied an upset bid by Valdosta State with a game-changing run in the second half that afforded the Hawks a 99-87 victory in Gulf South Conference basketball action at Winthrop-King Centre on Thursday night in Rome, Ga..

With the loss, the Blazers fell to 9-11 overall and dropped to 4-10 against league opponents, while Shorter improved their record to 15-5 overall, 10-4 in GSC play.

The Blazers opened up the scoring with a pair of quick buckets fromBlake Justice and Josh Lemons and to take a 9-2 lead within the first three minutes of the game. The Hawks surged in the ensuing three minutes, however, with a 15-2 run that gave Shorter a 17-11 lead at the 15:00 mark.

Valdosta State kept the contest close thanks to a strong 45.9, 17-of-37 shooting effort in the first half and three long balls fromJeff Nibo in the final two minutes of the frame, but the Hawks took a 48-47 advantage into intermission on the support of 52.8 percent, 19-of-36 shooting and 26 rebounds against VSU’s 18.

The early minutes of the second half belonged to Valdosta State, as Colin Cook connected on a short jumper to give VSU their first lead since the 17:16 mark of the first half, and James Spencer followed with a jumper and a two handed dunk to help the Blazers retain a one point, 53-52 lead at the 16:29 mark.

The Blazers opened up their largest lead of the second half when a three point shot by Jeremiah Hill put VSU on top 66-60, but Shorter responded with a decisive 24-4 run that lasted just over seven minutes and included just one field goal for the red and black. The push put the Hawks in front 84-70 with 5:31 to play.

VSU performed well offensively with five different players scoring 10 points or more on the night, but Shorter matched the Blazers with a 52.8 shooting effort from the field. Shorter’s Dedric Ware, who represents the second best scorer in the GSC, proved to be the difference maker for the Shorter offense, as he finished with a 7-of-14 performance from the field and hit all ten of his free throw attempts en route to a 26 point night.

Only nine turnovers were committed by the Blazers on the night, but the Hawks swayed the contest with 51 rebounds against Valdosta State’s 36.

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