West Alabama men dominate boards, lose game at Valdosta

Published 8:43 am Monday, February 18, 2013

VALDOSTA, Ga. – West Alabama controlled the backboards, but in the end couldn’t conquer the scoreboard, and Valdosta State escaped with a 70-69 Gulf South Conference basketball victory over the Tigers at The Complex Saturday.

The win improves Valdosta State to 16-7 overall and 8-7 in GSC play. UWA dipped to 8-13 and 4-10. The Tigers return to Pruitt Hall Thursday to host Delta State at 7:30 p.m.

The Tigers outrebounded the Blazers 54-34, and an even more impressive 26-13 on the offensive glass, but after making the first free throw, Desmond Raymond’s second attempt missed the mark with 1.1 seconds left that would have sent the game into overtime.

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With UWA down 70-67, Raymond had gotten the Tigers in position to tie the game by hitting a free throw with 5.0 second left, then missing the second one on purpose, getting the rebound and getting fouled on the put-back attempt.

“This was a good college basketball game,” UWA head coach Mike Newell said. “You have to make plays in the end and we didn’t make them.

“We had a couple of guys step up tonight in Joshua Millsap and Aaron Cobb who got 17 rebounds between them,” Newell said. “I was proud of them. We have four games left before the tournament and we need to just take them one at a time.”

In a game where the lead changed hands 16 times, three pointers on consecutive trips down the floor by Raymond and Cobb put the Tigers in striking distance, down 68-64 with 2:50 left to play. Another three by Steven Samuels cut VSU’s lead to 68-67 with 44.3 left. Shaquille Harris drained two free throws off an offensive rebound foul with 8.1 seconds left to provide just enough breathing room for the Blazers.

Samuels scored 14 points and Cobb 12 to lead West Alabama scoring. Six Tigers had at least seven rebounds, led by Cobb’s nine.

Harris scored 21 for VSU to lead all scorers. Josh Sparks chipped in 16 points and Patrick Diop 14 for the Blazers.