Courtesy of VSU athletics:
VALDOSTA, Ga. – Tyrone Curnell posted his second straight 30-point game to lead Valdosta State to an 88-61 Gulf South Conference victory over West Florida in men's basketball action at the P.E. Complex Wednesday evening.
After scoring 36 points in a win against North Alabama on Sunday, Curnell poured in 32 against the Argonauts (7-8, 1-2) as he connected on 11-of-18 field goal attempts and 10-of-14 free throws. The senior, who was named the GSC Player of the Week Wednesday morning, was particularly effective in the second half as he connected on all six of his shots and six-of-seven free throws during the final 20 minutes of play. Curnell also pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for his third straight, and seventh of the season, double-double.
After struggling throughout much of the first half, Valdosta State (15-2, 2-0) wasted little time in grabbing control of the game in the second half as it opened the half on a 14-5 run to build a 45-29 advantage with 15:49 remaining. Curnell scored six of the 14 points while Marvin Dibble, who played just six minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, poured in five more.
West Florida closed to within 13 points twice over the ensuing three minutes, but got no closer as VSU sealed the victory with a 22-8 run. The Blazer lead topped out at 86-56, on a Mike Holloway three-point play, with 1:39 to go in the contest.
Neither team shot well during the first 20 minutes of play as Valdosta State connected on 13-of-30 shots (43.3 percent) while West Florida connected on just eight-of-26 field goal attempts (30.8 percent). The cold shooting was most evident over the course of the first 10 minutes of play, during which the Blazers built a 14-9 lead, despite hitting just seven-of-17 shots. Meanwhile, the Argonauts connected on only three-of-13 shots and turned the ball over five times during the span.
Valdosta State's lead grew to as much as nine on several occasion during the first half before settling at 31-24 at the intermission.
Ricardo Lewis scored 18 points, including the first eight of the game for VSU, while Holloway poured in a career-high 11 to join Curnell in double figures. Valdosta State, which shot 67.7 percent from the field in the second half, ended the game having hit 34-of-61 attempts for a 55.7 percent clip. The Blazers were aided by 13 steals, on 21 West Florida turnovers, and owned a 29-8 advantage in points off turnovers. VSU also enjoyed a 48-26 edge in scoring in the paint and saw its bench outscore the UWF bench 27-5.
Maurice Thomas led West Florida with 20 points and had five steals, but also committed 11 of the 21 Argonaut turnovers. Jose Davila added 15 points as UWF shot 34.4 percent from the field in the game. West Florida managed a 39-37 advantage in rebounding and recorded 10 steals in the game.
Valdosta State continues its four game home stand on Saturday when the Blazers host No. 1 Augusta State at 4:00 p.m. in the P.E. Complex. The game will feature the first time VSU has ever played the nation's top ranked team.
VALDOSTA, Ga. – The Lady Blazers continued their strong start in the Gulf South Conference by taking down the top team in the GSC East, West Florida, to take hold of the first place spot in the GSC East. With tenacious defense and fast scoring Valdosta State dismantled West Florida, 86-62, to move to 2-0 in the GSC and 7-7 overall. West Florida drops to 2-1 in the GSC and 11-6 overall.
Valdosta State used a pressure defense to jumpstart the offense on its way to the most points scored since January 8, 2008. The pressure defense led to 38 points off turnovers, 20 points on the fast break and 40 points in the paint. Valdosta State forced 27 turnovers with 15 steals.
Once the Lady Blazers stole the ball, they knew what to do with it. Tamika Booker (20 points), Brittany Daniels (16) and Sierra Nixon (eight) combined for 44 points from the post while Michelle Thompson dropped 18 from outside. She went four of nine from three-point land.
Nixon added a season high 16 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass, while Booker finished with eight boards.
In all, eight players scored for Valdosta State with most of the playmaking coming from Leschelle Matthews and Amanda Haven. Haven dished out four assists while Matthews finished with six. Matthews filled the stat sheet, adding nine points, four rebounds and four steals to just one turnover.
West Florida led early in the first eight minutes of the game, but Valdosta State took off after the game was tied at 10. The Argonauts went scoreless over the course of four minutes and 25 seconds, and the Lady Blazers took advantage of the drought to go on a 21-0 run.
Nixon started the run with two made free throws, then stole the ball. Booker finished with a lay-up on the break off a Haven assist. Thompson kept it going with back to back treys, and then VSU went back to the paint with two straight baskets from Daniels. After that, it was back outside for three-pointers from Thompson and Haven.
With that, Valdosta State led the rest of the way. The closest West Florida would get would be 11 points. Valdosta State led by as much as 29 in the game.
For West Florida, Amy Drake led the way with 16 points and Tiffany Williams contributed 12. Emily Erland led the team in rebounds with six.
The Lady Blazers return to action Saturday at 2 p.m. against Saint Leo in the P.E. Complex.