“Sense of urgency” was how VSU forward, Will Alston, described the team’s attitude during the yearly Pink Zone game vs. Lambuth (10-12) this past weekend, which resulted in a blowout 98-67 win.
The Blazers earned their eighteenth victory of the season and their fifth in the Gulf South Conference.
After a close nail-bitter 82-81 win a couple weeks ago at Lambuth, the VSU Blazers made sure to tighten up their game plan this time around at home.
Lambuth, who has had their troubles this season on the road (2-7), wouldn’t have any mercy when they came to play Saturday afternoon at the Complex.
VSU (18-7) began the game firing on all cylinders and separated themselves early in the first half playing their first home game in 10 days in front of more than 2,500 spectators looking on.
They grabbed an early double digit advantage lead by forward, Josh Sparks, who during their 23-3 run, would dominate the paint.
Sparks added to his season long highlight reel with a few dunks and ended with a new career high with 19 points, 12 rebounds. His critical plays earned him the Player of the Week Award by the Gulf South Conference.
Alston, another key player in the game, was able to minimize the talents of the Eagles top-scorer, Shawn Merriweather.
The Blazers reviewed plenty of tape on the senior forward all week prior to the matchup.
“It made it tough for him to score,” Alston said. “I just put an emphasis on doing the best I can on defense.”
Alston also finished with a recorded double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Blazers shot 57.1 percent from the field, while Lambuth would fail to make a single three-pointer in the entire first half and shot 18.8 percent from the field.
Offensively, VSU was practically unstoppable going 20 of 35 field goal attempts before intermission.
The Blazers went into halftime with a more-than-comfortable 49-19 lead.
Lambuth went from not connecting on any of their ten three-point attempts to going 63.6 percent from three point range in the second half.
Although the Eagles came out of the half shooting noticeably better, it wasn’t enough to ever make a difference to the outcome of the game.
VSU was ahead by 35 a couple times during the second half making this GSC matchup not nearly as competitive as expected.
Backcourt players Sidney Harris and Martrez Scott chipped in 30 points to the victory.
“Coach said it’s a four-game season from here on out and so it’s understood with everybody,” Christian Hunter said. “We just came out ready to play. We have a ton of potential and its all about playing well at the right time.”
An impressive 11 blocks were recorded and the Blazers out-rebounded the Eagles 55-33.
Hunter tacked on 11 points and went 50 percent from behind the arc in Saturday’s game.
“I was proud of our guys for the way they played and how they got the win,” Mike Helfer, head coach, said. “I think that was a critical win for us not only cause we needed to rebound from a tough loss, but it’s a regional game. There are a lot of factors with the result of the Lambuth game that could help us down the road.”
Hunter, along with three more seniors on the team will be recognized this Saturday before tip off when they play their final home game against West Georgia at 8 p.m.
“West Georgia is a critical game for both teams and it’s a rivalry,” Helfer said. “There was a huge crowd at their place last time we met and there’ll be a huge crowd here as well. We’re very excited.”