Turnovers and missed free throws proved costly as the Lee men's basketball team dropped a tough overtime contest with Valdosta State, 93-82 on Tuesday night in Walker Arena.
The Flames led 76-69 with just two minutes remaining in regulation after Levi Woods drilled a 3-pointer. The pesky Blazers would score the next seven points however including the tying bucket with just four seconds left by KJ James.
Valdosta State kept the momentum going in the extra period outscoring the Flames, 17-6.
"I didn't like our body language heading into overtime.
I think that bucket really took the wind out of us but we've got to find ways to take care of the basketball and we were just too loose," said Lee head coach Bubba Smith. "We didn't adjust to one on one matchups tonight in the second half and in those moments we've got to find a way to get stops. You have to win these close games at home in this league. In the GSC it's all about can you get stops in the final four minutes of a close game and we failed to do that tonight."
The Flames converted just 9 of 19 from the free throw line (47.4 percent) and were guilty of 23 turnovers which led to 28 points to help aide the Blazers comeback effort.
"We did some good things tonight, we shared the basketball with 22 assists but we can't turn the ball over and fail to get stops down the stretch," added Smith. "This team has shown the resiliency to bounce back this year. We did after a tough loss to UAH and I know we will be ready to go on Thursday against West Florida.
Colton Blevins led Lee with 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting from the field. Ryan Montgomery followed with 15 points while Woods and Parker Sudekum added 11 each. Sudekum delivered in several areas as he chipped in seven assists, grabbed five rebounds and swiped three steals. Bryce Copeland came off the bench and canned three triples to finish with nine points.
Lee hit 32 of 67 (47.8 percent) from the field and drained 9 of 26 (34.6 percent) from the beyond the arc. Valdosta State shot 44.9 percent from the field and hit 9 of 25 3-pointers but held the biggest advantage at the foul line, going 22 of 27 (81.5 percent).
Beau Justice finished with 29 points to lead all-scorers, shooting an efficient 9 of 18 from the field and 3 of 4 from the 3-point range. Clay Guillozet added 24 points and seven rebounds and Winston Morgan pitched in 19 and dished off six assists.
The loss drops the Flames to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the GSC while the win propels Valdosta State to 10-2 and 3-1. The Blazers are receiving votes in the latest NCAA Top 25 poll.
Lee will get right back to work on Thursday evening as they welcome rival West Florida to town for an 8 p.m. opening tip.