VALDOSTA, Ga. – Third-ranked Valdosta State never trailed as the Blazers defeated Georgia Southwestern 81-52 in non-conference men's basketball action at the P.E. Complex Monday evening.
The Hurricanes (1-4) never threatened as Valdosta State (6-0) opened the game on an 11-4 run. Four of the five Blazer starters scored during the opening run, led by Tristan Crawford, who hit a pair of jumpers.
Despite hitting just 14-of-32 field goals during the first minute of play, VSU slowly built its lead throughout the half as it forced 13 GSW turnovers during the first 20 minutes of play. The Blazers recorded seven steals on the turnovers and committed just four turnover of their own. The turnover differential led to a 14-2 advantage in points off turnovers during the frame, which ended with a Mike Holloway length of the floor driving lay-up as time expired to give Valdosta State its largest lead of the half at 38-21.
The VSU lead continued to grow throughout the second half, reaching 20 points on a pair of Marvin Dibble free throws with 15:58 to go in the half before going as high as 31 on two James Jackson charity shots with 54 seconds remaining.
The second half was slowed considerably as the two teams combined for 25 fouls during the frame, which led to a combined 35 free throws. VSU connected on 19-of-23 charity shots during the final 20 minutes of play and also hit 10-of-21 field goal attempts.
Tyrone Curnell led Valdosta State in scoring for the second straight game, finishing with 17 points while also pulling down six rebounds, dishing out a team-high three assists and recording three steals. Tristan Crawford also finished in double figures with 15 points as all 12 Blazers scored in the contest.
VSU shot 45.3 percent from the floor in the game as it hit 24-of-53 field goals while also connecting on 27-of-35 free throws. The Blazers turned the ball over a season-low nine times and registered 12 steals while also owning a 37-32 advantage in rebounding.
Evan Mobley tallied a game-high 19 to lead Georgia Southwestern while Chris Rawls finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Scott also finished in double figures with 11 as the Hurricanes shot 38.8 percent from the floor. GSW finished the contest with 20 turnovers, which led to a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers for the Blazers.
Valdosta State returns to action Friday, December 4 when it hosts the Loop Pizza Grill Classic. The tournament begins with West Florida and Palm Beach Atlantic playing at 6:00 p.m. followed by VSU and Saint Leo at 8:00 p.m.