VALDOSTA -- Another tough opponent, another loss for the Albany State men's basketball team, which fell, 79-69, to Valdosta State on Tuesday.
Marcus Benitez led the Rams (0-3) with 20 points, but he was the only Golden Ram to reach double figures.
Four Blazers, on the other hand, scored in double figures. Billy McShepard registered another double-double, with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Sparks led the Blazers with 16 points, Kevin Harris scored 14 points and Tristan Steele added 13.
It was a back-and-forth contest early, as the Blazers (4-2) trailed 21-17 midway through the first half.
But a 3-pointer by Steele and a 3-point play by McShepard gave the Blazers a 27-22 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The Blazers built on their lead, and finished the half with a 42-32 lead.
Albany State closed to within 71-63 with two minutes to go, but Sidney Harris and Kevin Harris hit four consecutive free throws to ice the game. VSU made 20-of-25 free throws on the night.
"I thought we played with great confidence for a while, but then when the lead started to shrink, it seemed like we tightened up a bit, and made some uncharacteristic mistakes," Helfer said. "We have to make sure we come in and look at some video and fix that."
VSU shot 46.3 percent from the field, while Albany State shot 42.6 percent.
LADY RAMS FALL HARD: The Albany State women's basketball team shot 42.9 percent from the field, but also shot 42.9 percent from the line as the Lady Rams stayed winless with a 99-62 loss to Clayton State at home.
Drameka Griggs only missed two of her 14 shots and finished with 27 points and seven steals for Clayton (6-0), while Teshymia Tillman scored 22. Four other players scored in double digits for Clayton, which shot 55.1 percent from the field.
Callie Hamilton's 18 points and eight rebounds led ASU (0-4), which had 39 turnovers. Kourtney Alexander chipped in with 13 points, but the Lady Rams were hurt by going 9-for-21 from the stripe.
DARTON WOMEN CRUISE: The freshmen came to play Tuesday afternoon at Darton College, as the women's basketball team defeated Denmark Technical College, 80-46, in a non-region game.
Freshmen Christina Brown (18 points, four 3-pointers), Bryonne Ballard (14 points, two 3-pointers) and Amber McKenzie (12 points) led the offense as the Lady Cavaliers led 46-16 at halftime.
Jasmine Myers and T'Erica Frost each added four steals for Darton (6-3), which travels to South Carolina next on Dec. 3 to play Clinton Junior College, followed by a rematch against Denmark Tech on Dec. 4.
The Lady Cavaliers also had 50 rebounds and nine 3-pointers as a team, and don't play their next home game until Dec. 18 against Chatahoochee Valley.
DARTON MEN'S, WOMEN'S SWIM TEAM LOOKS SOLID: The men's and women's swimming and diving teams traveled to LaGrange this past weekend and won the Panther Invitational. Darton College is now 2-0 on the season. The field of teams included LaGrange College, South Georgia College, Brenau University, Berry College and Gordon College.
"They have been training very hard this season and it is really starting to show in competition," head coach Molly Gilbert said. "It was an exciting meet and there were some very close races. The team pulled together for their second first place finish of the season."
The swimming and diving teams will be back in action following the thanksgiving break at the Savannah College of Art and Design Invitational on December 2-4.
Darton had an individual place first in all 30 events.