Blazers Get Double-Overtime Win Over UWF

| December 13, 2016

PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Valdosta State Blazers saw four players score 17 points or more in a resilient 92-89, double-overtime win in their Gulf South Conference opener against the Argonauts of West Florida in Pensacola, Fla. on Monday night.

Jeremiah Hill highlighted the thrilling triumph with a 24-point performance, which included a 6-of-18 shooting effort from the field, along with two three pointers and a perfect 10-of-10 night at the free throw line. In addition, Hill recorded his first double-double of the season after hauling in 11 rebounds, and the senior finished just one assist shy of a triple-double.

The Blazers never led by more than four points in the contest, which featured 13 ties and 14 lead changes over the course of the night. The Blazers hung around, however, and held to within striking distance by never allowing UWF to open up a lead any further than nine points.

The outcome looked promising for Valdosta State late in the second half after Beau Justice buried a three with 2:02 remaining in regulation to put Valdosta State in front 76-72. But, two unanswered field goals by Rashaan Benson in the final two minutes, the second of which came with just 23 seconds on the clock, forced a 76-76 tie and sent the game into overtime.

In the first overtime frame, the Blazers took the lead two different time during the first four minutes, before Darryl Tucker used a three-point play to swing the advantage in UWF’s favor for a one-point, 81-80 lead. Hill proceeded to knock down a pair of free throws after he was fouled on the ensuing possession, but Mario Stramaglia gave the Blazers a scare with a long three from the corner with just 39 seconds remaining on the clock. Stramaglia’s clutch shot gave UWF a two-point lead, but Hill drew another Argonaut foul with nine seconds remaining and proceeded to calmly bury both free throws to force a second overtime period.

The Blazers took their final lead of the game with 1:43 on the clock in the second overtime period after Hill threaded a pass through the lane to Saadiq Muhammad, who connected from close range while drawing a foul for a three-point play. Senior Josh Lemons took over from there and provided the storyline in the closing moments of the game with four of his eight free throws in the last ten seconds to hold UWF at bay.

With the win, Valdosta State improved their overall record to 6-1 and began their GSC stint at 1-0. Meanwhile, the Argonauts suffered their first loss of the season to fall to 5-1 on the year and 0-1 in conference play.

The Blazers will continue the current road trip on Thursday in Memphis, Tenn. against the Bucs of Christian Brothers for another GSC showdown. The game is scheduled for a 8:00 p.m. EST tipoff in Memphis, Tenn.

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