The 2014 Gulf South Conference basketball championship ended earlier than anticipated for the West Alabama Tigers. In an upset that not many saw coming, the number two seed Tigers fell to the number seven seed Valdosta State Blazers in the first round. This defeat marks a disappointing finish to what was a successful regular season for the Tigers. It is not necessarily over just yet for the Tigers, but it is a waiting game to see how things fall into place with regards to the NCAA tournament set to take place after the conference tournaments wrap up.
The game featured eight lead changes and 11 turnovers by the Tigers, nine in the first half helped Valdosta State take a slim 41-38 lead into halftime. The Blazers were also helped by shooting a solid 54 percent from beyond the arc.
It was the second half that saw the Blazers move inside the perimeter and put the team’s game plan into action. Senior first team All Gulf South Conference selection Desmond Raymond led the Tigers with 19 points. Jarell Byrd, second team All Gulf South Conference member, finished with 13 points with 11 coming in the first half.
The loss drops West Alabama to 17-10 on the yes while Valdosta State improves to 16-11 and will face the winner of the West Georgia versus North Alabama contest.
After the last regional rankings the Tigers were seeded number five and will have to sit and wait to see their fate. A little help is needed for them to move on. They will now look for the higher seeds to win out for the rest of the tournament. If the right scenario happens they could move on. If they do not move on their season ends in bitter disappointment. Sitting and waiting will be difficult but it is all they can do.
The Gulf South Conference basketball tournament continues until Sunday.