The hero for the Blazers is usually guard Beau Justice, but forward Darrell Jones took the job against Shorter.
Jones led the Blazers to a 93-82 victory over the Hawks behind a 22-point and 8-rebound stat line.
Justice shot 7-15 but went blank from three, shooting 0-6, something he hasn’t done in seven games.
The team struggled from three, shooting 3-16, but shot 57 percent from the field.
Head coach Mike Helfer switched up the lineup, regulating Winston Morgan and Clay Guillozet to bench in favor of Keshawn Ingram and Desmond DeRamus.
“I changed it up to give our guys a different feel and look to how we start the game,” Helfer said.
The Blazers got off to an 8-0 lead before the Hawks got on the board with two straight three-pointers from Drew Thomas.
Jones, who uses his three-point shot and passing as a crutch, abandoned those entities and went in full takeover mode, scoring an aggressive ten points in the first half off the bench.
Ingram took advantage of his start tonight, acting as a spark for the Blazers. Usually grounded, he took off for two straight dunks in the first half, firing up the crowd and his teammates.
Bryson Price scored big points for the Hawks—12 in the first half, 20 for the game.
The Blazers went into the half with a 48-38 lead.
The second half was more evenly matched but not enough for the Hawks to catch up.
Bryson Price, Joe Russell and TayVaughn Major all scored double figures in efforts to pull the Hawks back in the game.
Price and Major both fouled out in the home stretch of the game, handicapping the Hawks’ comeback hopes.
Jones checked back in the game in the second half and added 12 points to his scoring count to close out the Hawks.
Due to the Blazers’ shooting woes, Helfer felt that Jones sensed it was time to take over.
“We had to have some success inside, so I think that’s what drove his motivation to be a force inside,” Helfer said.
Jones wanted to show that he’s valuable whether he starts or comes off the bench.
“I think I took a more aggressive approach, and Coach gave me a chance to show that I can put the ball in the basket.”
After shooting 3-16 as a team, Jones said he’s not alarmed by the Blazers’ shooting slump.
“It’s not something big to fix. We must learn when to take those type of shots. It just depends what kind of shot it is.”
The Blazers’ next game will be a Gulf South Conference game at Montevallo on Jan. 24.
Written by Gerald Thomas III., Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of VSU Athletics.
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