By James Vallone
VALDOSTA, Ga. - Shorter dominated the scoring in the paint and on the fast break, taking the Gulf South Conference road victory at Valdosta State, 75-69.
Walter Hill scored a Hawks season high 28 points, including 6-for-11 shooting from behind the arc to be the high scorer.
The win snaps a Shorter (8-4, 2-2 GSC) conference losing streak and gave the Blazers their second straight home loss in GSC play.
Hill paced the first half, scoring 12. Ware scored nine in the opening half, while also adding four steals and four assists. Ware would go on to score 18 on the game, tying his previous season high set on November 29 versus West Alabama.
The second half saw the duo of Hill and Ware continue to lead the scoring again, 16 for Hill and Ware with nine.
Valdosta State would tie the game in the first minute of the second half when Josh Sparks connected on the put back, tying the game at 33-33. Sparks was averaging over nine rebounds a game, but was held to just five while scoring only four points.
The game would be played close for the next few minutes, before Shorter would go on the 11-4 run over three minutes to stretch the score to 67-57 with 5:34 left to play in the game after a pair of Ware free throws.
Ware would add four more free throws in the final 32 seconds to seal the victory for the Hawks.
Brandon Wright grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, while adding eight points in his second consecutive start.
Anthony Banks would continue to be effective on the glass, grabbing 10 rebounds – he is averaging 9.3 rebounds a game this season. Banks would score eight points and pitch in with three steals.
Hill would also grab seven rebounds for the game. In addition to the scoring for Ware, he would have a game high in both steals and assists with five apiece.
Valdosta State was able to get 21 points from Patrick Diop, including going 11-for-12 from the free throw line. John Hoskins added 20 points from the bench, while going 10-for-12 from the line. The Blazers leading scorer for the season, James Anacreon, was held to one point – far below the 17.1 points a game he had been averaging.
The Hawks defense was able to turn 18 Blazer turnovers into 18 points, with Shorter taking the 34-26 advantage to points scored in the paint.
Shorter will return to action in GSC competition on January 10 as Delta State visits the Winthrop-King Centre for an 8 pm tip-off.