Courtesy of VSU athletics:
VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State got points from 11 of its 12 players as the Blazers defeated West Georgia 83-57 in front of a record crowd of 4,616 fans in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at The Complex Saturday evening.
Marquis Robinson led the Blazers with 20 points, all in the second half of play, as he became the eighth VSU player to score 20 points in a game this season. The senior connected on nine-of-10 field goals and two of his three free throws. Fellow senior Tyrone Curnell tallied his 10th double-double of the year as he added 14 points while grabbing 12 rebounds while a third senior, Ricardo Lewis, scored 13.
Valdosta State (24-3, 9-1) never trailed in the game as opened the contest on a 7-1 run. The lead grew to 17-7 with 11:18 to go and dipped no lower than six the rest of the game as the Blazers held West Georgia (13-14 3-7) to 21.7 field goal percentage, on five-of-23 shooting, in the first half of play. Meanwhile, VSU shot 14-of-34 from the floor in as it built a 31-16 halftime lead.
The Blazer lead quickly grew to 20 points in the first six minutes of the second half and dipped below the 20-point barrier for only 12 seconds the remainder of the game.
Robinson entered the contest with just over 13 minutes to play in the game and took over the contest as he scored on a three-point play his first trip down the floor and, after two free throws by Curnell, proceeded to score 13 of VSU's next 15 points. He outscored UWG 16-13 during the run, which ended with Valdosta State leading 66-38 with 7:25 remaining in the contest.
The Valdosta State advantage grew to as much as 81-47, on a Christian Hunter three with 3:17 to go, while the Wolves closed the game on a 10-2 spurt to set the final score.
The Blazers shot 47.9 percent from the floor in the game and dominated the paint, where it out-scored West Georgia 54-22. Fueled by Robinson's 20, the Blazer bench also owned a 42-18 advantage in scoring over the Wolf reserves on the night.
Valdosta State also owned a 44-39 advantage in rebounding in the game and turned the ball over just eight times while recording 13 steals, including five by Curnell, on 17 West Georgia turnovers.
John Pringle led UWG with 12 points and 13 rebounds while Vojin Svilar also poured in 12 points.
The 4,616 fans in attendance marked the first time VSU has ever had 4,000 fans at a home game and was the second time this season Valdosta State has set an attendance record at a home game, surpassing the old mark of 3,419 fans at the North Alabama contest on February 4.
VALDOSTA, Ga. – Valdosta State beat West Georgia, 57-40, Saturday night to send off the Lady Blazer seniors with a perfect 10-0 record in the Gulf South Conference. It marks the first time Valdosta State has ever made it through the GSC undefeated. The Lady Blazers head to the Gulf South Conference tournament as the top seed with an 18-7 overall record and the flawless conference record. West Georgia's season ends at 9-17 and 2-8 in the GSC.
After the senior festivities for Michelle Thompson, Leschelle Matthews, Tamika Booker and Sierra Nixon, Valdosta State turned on the trademark defense in a physical game. The Lady Blazers forced 26 turnovers on 17 steals including four each for Amanda Haven and Nixon. Valdosta State's defense led to 29 points off turnovers to just 10 for West Georgia.
Nixon led the team's charge against the boards with eight rebounds. Valdosta State finished with a 35-28 advantage in rebounding to help the Lady Blazers scored 22 second chance points to just four for the Wolves.
Even though it was senior night, two sophomores led the team in points. Sczeny Hartry scored 13 to lead the team. She scored the bulk of that from the outside on a three of four shooting performance beyond the arc. Brittany Daniels contributed 10 points on five of seven shooting.
West Georgia claimed an early lead, but the Lady Blazers tied the game at 13 with 10 minutes left in the first half on a lay-up from Matthews. A three-pointer from Haven gave VSU its first lead, 16-13, with 8:46 left in the first half. Still, the Lady Blazers trailed, 25-23, at halftime. But VSU came back to win its first game after trailing at the half this season.
With the game tied at 29 six minutes into the second half, VSU rifled off a 7-0 run. Daniels hit a jumper in the paint followed by physical play from Booker. She scored the lay-up on the left side and drew a foul. She nailed the free throw to complete the three-point play and give VSU a five-point lead. Two more free throws from Alli Jones made it 36-29, VSU.
At the 3:11 mark in the second half, Hartry gave Valdosta State an eight-point lead with a three-pointer from Matthews. Booker made a free throw later to push the lead to nine points, and then Valdosta State rifled off six free throws.
West Georgia Head Coach Craig Roden was charged with two technical fouls and ejected after a foul by Thomassian Wyatt on Nixon. Thompson dropped four consecutive free throws and Nixon followed it with two of her own for a 53-38 lead with 1:45 left to play.
After Charlease Williams made a basket for West Georgia, Hartry scored on two more free throws. Fittingly, Thompson scored the last points for VSU on free throws for a final score of 57-40.
The Lady Blazers will tip off in game two of the GSC Tournament in Southaven, Miss. Thursday. Valdosta State will face the fourth seed from the GSC West, still to be determined.
Valdosta State returns to action Friday, March 5 when it opens play in the Gulf South Conference Tournament. The Blazers, who finished the regular season as co-champions of the GSC East Division with Alabama-Huntsville, will be the East Division's No. 2 seed as the tie-breaker came down to the eighth and final tie breaker, a coin flip by the GSC Commissioner that was won by UAH. The Blazers will play Arkansas-Monticello, the West Division's No. 3 seed, on Friday, with game time yet to be determined.