Courtesy of VSU athletics
VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State used a 19-2 first half run to grab a lead it wouldn't relinquish as the 16th-ranked Blazers defeated Barry 70-62 in the second day of play at the Lynn Courtyard by Marriott Classic at the de Hoernle Center Monday evening.
Barry (8-2) held the lead throughout much of the first half as Valdosta State (11-2) found it difficult to score through the first nine minutes of play. The Bucs connected on seven of their first 11 shots while limiting VSU to 5-of-15 from the field in the early going, a combination that posted the Bucs to a 17-11 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
The remainder of the half saw the Bucs go cold as they hit just one of their next 14 shots while VSU went on its game deciding run. Tyrone Curnell hit three free throws and a lay-up over the ensuing two minutes to pull Valdosta State to within one before Charles Belton hit a fast break basket to give the Blazers the lead. After a Barry bucket, Tristan Crawford scored six straight points, on a three-point play and a three-pointer from the corner, to give VSU the lead for good. Curnell and Crawford added a put-back basket each and Belton hit a jumper to close out the run with Valdosta State leading 30-19 with 2:54 to go in the first half.
Barry closed to within four, at 30-26, over the remainder of the half only to have a Marvin Dibble score on a tip-in at the buzzer to give VSU a 32-26 halftime lead.
The Blazers scored seven of the first nine points of the second to build their largest lead at 39-28, only to have the Bucs respond with a 10-4 spurt to close to within 44-38 with 15:48 to play in the game.
The remainder of the game saw Valdosta State thwart several Barry comeback bids as BU cut its deficit to two on two occasions and three on another. However, each Buc run was answered by one by the Blazers, who scored just one basket over the final three minutes, but sealed the victory by hitting all six of its free throws during the span.
Dibble tallied 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, 11 of which came in the first half, for his second career double-double. Crawford led VSU with 22 points while Curnell added 14 to go along with nine rebounds. Valdosta State shot just 35.6 percent from the floor as it connected on 26-of-73 shots, but held Barry to 21-of-60 (35.0%) from the field and owned a 55-34 advantage in rebounding.
Tony Dennison scored 18 to lead BU while Erick Nsangou added 16 and Zack Trapp 14.
Valdosta State returns to action Thursday, December 31 when it travels to Albany, Ga. to face the Golden Rams of Albany State at 3:00 p.m.