Bulldogs Outlast Blazers For 80-73 Win

| March 2, 2016

vsu basketball

JACKSON, Tenn. – The Valdosta State men’s basketball team saw their season come to an end at the hands of the Union Bulldogs in an 80-73 loss in the opening round of the Gulf South Conference Tournament on Tuesday night in Jackson, Tenn.

The Blazers (17-11) led for most of the contest, but a late run in both halves made the difference for the Bulldogs (20-9), who took advantage of 31 free throw opportunities for 27 of their points in the contest. In contrast, VSU scored 13 points from the stripe on 19 chances.

Union, who improved to 13-1 on their home floor with the victory, used 20-plus point performances by three different players to edge out the Blazers in front of a raucous crowd. Jordan Montgomery led the way with 23 points, while Roy Bullock added 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Another key factor in the game were the number of fouls charged to the Blazers. Three of the Blazer starters fouled out of the game, including senior Blake Justice, who led the team with 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field and a 3-of-6 effort from the three point line.

The contest featured eight lead changes and four ties, but a late surge by the Bulldogs sealed the win. Union took a one point lead on a pair of Felipe Rocha free throws at the 4:30 mark in the second half, and despite pulling to within one point three different times in the final minutes, VSU was never able to overcome the deficit.

Although the Blazers fell in the end, Chris Bilbo played a key role in keeping the game close for the Blazers throughout the second half, improving his point total to 15 with several big three point shots that led to 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc for the senior.

With the win, the tournament’s No. 3 ranked Bulldogs advanced to face No. 2 West Georgia, who narrowly defeated Shorter earlier in the night to earn an appearance in the semifinal round on Friday at Pete Hanna Center at Samford University in Birmingham Alabama. No. 5 Delta State also defeated No. 4 North Alabama handily in Florence, Ala. to also advance to the semifinal round. The Statesmen will square off against No. 1 Alabama-Huntsville, who survived a scare in Huntsville, Ala. and came back late to defeat the No. 8 ranked Shorter Hawks.

VStateBlazers.com

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