Valdosta State splits with Alabama Huntsville - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta State splits with Alabama Huntsville

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Courtesy of VSU athletics:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Alabama-Huntsville enjoyed a strong shooting night as the Chargers defeated fourth-ranked Valdosta State 89-71 in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at Spragins Hall Saturday night.

 Valdosta State (23-3, 8-1) jumped out to an early lead as it built a 17-7 lead four minutes into the contest. Charles Belton opened the game with a basket and a free throw for a three-point play and, after a pair of Josh Yost free throws for Alabama-Huntsville, Tyrone Curnell hit a jumper. Marvin Dibble followed another UAH free throw with a three-pointer from the top of the key and Tristan Crawford added a jumper in the lane before Cody Jones got the Chargers (18-5, 6-1) their first basket with a lay-up. Crawford contributed a trifecta and Belton a free throw while, after a Tyler Hanback putback for UAH, Ricardo Lewis closed out the run with a three-pointer.

 Curnell picked up his second foul and went to the bench for VSU less than five minutes into the contest, allowing Alabama-Huntsville to respond with a 21-4 run over the next five minutes to take the lead for good. The Chargers connected on a pair of three pointers to open the run and got a pair of Zane Campbell buckets before also closing out the run with two three pointers to build a 28-21 advantage with nine minutes to play in the first half.

 The Blazers closed to within two points twice over the remainder of the half, but saw UAH connect 15-of-28 shots and 15-of-17 free throws during the first 20 minutes of play to build a 50-37 halftime lead.

 Alabama-Huntsville lead grew rapidly during the opening moments of the second half as Valdosta State connected on just two of its first eight shots while also missing all three of its free throws over the course of the first five minutes of the half.

 Jaime Smith pushed the Charger lead to 20 points, at 61-41 with 15:09 remaining in the contest while the UAH advantage topped out at 85-56 10 minutes later as VSU never challenged during the closing three-quarters of the second half.

 Alabama-Huntsville shot 50.9 percent from the floor in the game as it connected on 27-of-53 field goal attempts while also successfully hitting 25-of-30 free throw attempts. Jones led UAH with 20 points while Smith added 18 and Josh Magette and Yost 11 each. The Chargers also owned a 38-34 advantage in rebounding in the game.

 Christian Hunter scored 18 points off the bench and finished with a team-high four assists to lead Valdosta State offensively. Crawford and Dibble were the only other Blazers in double figures, finishing with 11 and 10, respectively, while Curnell was held to a season-low six points in just 17 minutes of action. VSU shot 44.3 percent from the floor in the game, but hit just 11-of-26 free throws.

 The loss snaps Valdosta State's 15-game winning streak, leaving the team just one win shy of the school record of 16 straight wins set during the 1961-62 season.

 Valdosta State closes out its 2009-10 regular season on Saturday, February 27 when it hosts West Georgia in The Complex. The seven Blazer seniors will be honored prior to the game, which is slated for an 8:00 p.m. tip-off.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Valdosta State' used a balanced scoring effort and strong defensive play to beat Alabama-Huntsville, 76-62, and to move to 17-7 overall and 9-0 in Gulf South action.

 The first half was all about the VSU guards with Sczeny Hartry, Alli Jones and Michelle Thompson doing the bulk of the scoring. They were the only three players with multiple field goals in the first half. Thompson finished the game with 16 points, eight on free throws, while Hartry scored 13 points with three assists and four steals. Jones contributed 10 points in just 13 minutes.

 In the second half, Valdosta State took the ball to the post. The only players with multiple field goals in the second fram were Brittany Daniels and Sierra Nixon. Both players finished with 10 rebounds each while Daniels scored 13 points. Nixon scored eight with two assists and one block. The duo led VSU to 34 points in the paint and 23 second chance points.

 At the point, Leschelle Matthews continued to be consistent. She scored nine points with five assists and six steals.

 The Lady Blazer defensive effort led to 26 turnovers on 14 VSU steals. Valdosta State scored 27 points off turnovers.

 Valdosta State committed too many turnovers early and fell behind 7-3. However, the Lady Blazers turned on the defense and forced a few turnovers of their own to gain an 11-7 lead. The most impressive steal in the 8-0 run came from Matthews. She jumped the passing lane at the top of the key and took it all the way for the lay-up. She finished the first half with five steals.

 That trademark defense from VSU led to more fast breaks for the Lady Blazers. Valdosta State scored 17 points off 17 UAH first half turnovers. At the break, the Lady Blazers had already racked up 11 steals.

 Jones dropped a three-pointer before two consecutive lay-ups from Thompson. Tamika Booker scored off an offensive rebound followed by another basket from Thompson, this time a midrange jumper to make it 22-12 for VSU.

 Hartry paced the Lady Blazers throughout the first half with 10 points to make it 38-26 at the break. With two treys from Hartry, her and Jones combined for four three balls in the half.

 Alabama-Huntsville came out strong in the second half. With just over 12 minutes left in the game, the Chargers made it a four-point game, trailing 48-44, but Nixon and Daniels made back-to-back baskets in the post to extend the VSU lead to 52-44 with 11:23 left to play.

 Valdosta State ran with the momentum and pushed the lead even further. After free throws from Daniels and Matthews, Jones pushed her way to a lay-up in the post. After that, Daniels made another lay-up with two seconds left on the shot clock to make it 59-47, VSU's advantage.

 With a seven-point lead, Nixon scored out of a timeout. She passed to Matthews, cut to the lane, and Matthews gave it back to her. After that, Hartry dropped another three-pointer to push the VSU lead to 68-53 with three minutes left. The lead proved to be too much for the Chargers to overcome.

 Marissa Carter led the Chargers in scoring and rebounding with 21 points and five boards. Amber Whitt contributed 10 points in the game.

 Valdosta State returns to the Complex Saturday for the last regular season game of the season against West Georgia at 6 p.m.