VALDOSTA –– Two games, two wins.
The Valdosta State men and women defeated Fort Valley State and Albany State, respectively, in the GSC-SIAC Challenge over the weekend.
Men: Though non-conference games don’t carry much scrutiny in the grand scheme of things, early returns from the VSU men appear encouraging after losing seven seniors from last year’s squad.
The Blazers opened the season with a close 83-81 win against Fort Valley State on Saturday. Despite nearly squandering an 18-point lead against the Wildcats, the Blazers shot 53 percent from the floor and made 13-of-29 from beyond the arc. In a dominant 100-76 victory against Albany State on Sunday, the Blazers followed up their sharp-shooting opener with an even more efficient 56. 3 percent outing against the Rams.
THE BEAU SHOW
Junior guard Beau Justice has quickly justified his Preseason All-Gulf South Conference team selection by averaging 23 points per game through his first two games. The Peebles, Ohio native buried 10-of-14 triples in Pensacola, Fla. and is shooting 66.7 percent from the floor two games in.
DIGGING THE LONG BALL
The Blazers picked up where they left off shooting the ball last season. Through the first two games, the Blazers have made 29 3s as a team, including a 16-of-29 downpour against the Rams on Sunday.
Last season, the Blazers made at least 10 triples in 12 of 32 games. If these first two games are any indication, this year’s Blazers could make double-digit triples a nightly occurrence.
Women: The VSU women defeated Fort Valley 87-53 at home on Friday, due in large part to their 48.3 percent shooting and 10-of-27 showing from beyond the arc. On Saturday, the Blazers didn’t shoot well (38 percent, 8-of-29 from 3), but out-rebounded
Albany State 52-30 and made 18-of-20 free throws.
CHEATHAM ON FIRE
Junior guard Aaliyah Cheatham is off to a blazing start shooting the ball. The Perry native is averaging a team-best 16.5 points through the first two games and has made 9-of-20 from beyond the arc. Cheatham’s first two games should be encouraging as she averaged just 6.5 points per game and shot just 5-of-23 from the floor against Albany State and Eckerd last season.