UWA hoops teams fall short in losses to Valdosta State
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 25, 2005
West Alabama’s men’s hoops team held dangerous Valdosta State shooter Ben Mallett scoreless for 59 minutes and 48 seconds. Too bad they couldn’t have kept it up for the last 12 ticks.
Mallett’s off-balance jumper in the final seconds, his only points of the game, gave the visiting Blazers a 63-62 win over UWA. The shot negated a tremendous effort by the Tigers, who had edged ahead on Ty Mathis’s driving lay-up with only 33.5 seconds to go. The loss drops the Tigers’ record to 9-7 overall and 2-3 in Gulf South Conference play.
“I was pleased with our effort,” said UWA head coach Rick Reedy. “I thought they were more talented, but we definitely played harder than they did.”
Thanks to the senior forward Mathis’s heroics, the Tigers looked to be in position to take the victory over the favored Blazers, one of the “top two or three teams in the conference” according to Reedy. Mathis had already scored the Tigers previous three points, on a drive to the basket to put the Tigers up 59-58 and then a free throw, before he cut around a Valdosta defender on the left baseline and put the Tigers up 62-61.
Unfortunately, that only served to set the stage for Mallett’s shot, which went in despite solid defending from UWA. “I tell you, we really did,” said Reedy, when asked if he thought the Tigers had Mallett clamped down. “He’d had one shot all night, and he was off-balance…it wasn’t really the kind of shot you’d want. I thought they’d go inside.”
A last-ditch drive by sophomore guard Joseph Baker ended with a Blazer strip and recovery of the ball as time expired.
Hard as it is, the loss will sting the Tigers even more when they look at their free-throw percentage. UWA shot only 5 of 13 from the stripe, an ugly 38 percent.
Baker finished with 14 points, one of three Tigers in double figures along with Jared Hembree with 12 and Mathis with 10.
Afterwards, Reedy gave his team credit for their resiliency. “I told our guys, one thing to look at is that last year we couldn’t even play with Valdosta. This year we could, we could have won. We’re competitive with top teams, now we just have to go out and win.”
Valdosta State Women 72
UWA Women 67
Veronica Lee led the Tigers with 17 points to give her 1,025 in her career (second in school history), but West Alabama would drop a 72-67 decision to Valdosta State (15-2, 5-0 GSC) on Saturday night in Pruitt Hall.
The Lady Blazers jumped out to a 33-26 advantage at the break, as the Tigers struggled from the floor, shooting 26.9 percent (7-26). West Alabama won the battle of the boards 47-33, but the Tigers finished the game only 20-68 from the floor (29.4 percent). VSU connected on 26-of-53 shots (49.1 percent) for the game.
West Alabama moves to 9-8 overall and 2-3 in GSC play. The Tigers resume action on Monday when they host West Florida with the tip-off set for 5:30 p.m.