VALDOSTA, Ga. - Six Valdosta State players scored in double figures as the Blazers defeated North Alabama 81-62 in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at the P.E. Complex Saturday afternoon.
Ricardo Lewis led the way for the Blazers (14-3, 2-1) with 15 point while Ray Cummings scored 14. Christian Hunter added 13 to go with 12 points from both Tyrone Curnell and Tristan Crawford and 11 from Marvin Dibble. Curnell also pulled down 19 rebounds, the most by a VSU player since Jon Rogers also had 19 against Campbellsville on January 4, 2004, for his 10th double-double of the season.
Valdosta State used an early 12-4 run to grab the lead for good. With the score tied at 6-6, Curnell began the run with a three before Kenny Johnson hit a lay-up for North Alabama (13-6, 3-1). Hunter quickly responded with a trifecta for VSU and after a Jerrelle Redden basket for the Lions, Dibble added two more three-pointers to give VSU an 18-10 advantage with 13:47 to go in the half.
UNA scored six straight points to close to within two, but got no closer as the Blazers closed the first half on a 23-6 spurt. The Lions connected on just three-of-20 field goal attempts over the final 12:35 of the half while VSU tallied six steals on seven North Alabama turnovers over the span. A Curnell tip-in with 96 seconds remaining in the frame closed out the first half scoring with Valdosta State leading 41-22.
The Blazers kept up their onslaught early in the second half as they out-scored the Lions 21-9 over the first 6:30 of play to push their lead above 30 points. Four different Blazers contributed during the run, which culminated with a Curnell three-point play after a fast break dunk over UNA's Isaac Gay, who was called for a block on the play, allowing Curnell to add a free throw for a 62-31 Valdosta State lead.
North Alabama closed to within 29 over the ensuing 10 minutes of play while Valdosta State's lead capped out at 79-43 on a Hunter lay-up with 3:40 to go in the contest, allowing Blazer Head Coach Mike Helfer to clear his bench. The Lions closed the game on a 19-2 run against the Blazer reserves, including 13 points from Andrew Chesney.
Valdosta State shot 50.0 percent from the floor in the game as it connected on 31-of-62 field goal attempts, including 10-of-24 threes. VSU owned a 45-37 advantage in rebounding in the game and tallied 14 steals on 16 North Alabama turnovers.
The Lions connected on 24-of-65 field goal attempts for a 36.9 percent shooting night and were led in scoring by Chesney with 17. Johnson added 14 points and Corey Speight 10 while Gay pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Valdosta State returns to action Thursday, January 22 when it travels to Livingston, Ala. to face the Tigers of West Alabama at 8:30 p.m. North Alabama remains on the road and faces Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday, January 24.
The Lady Blazers continued their undefeated streak against the Gulf South Conference with an impressive 69-55 victory over the Lions of North Alabama. The win puts VSU at 13-4 and 3-0 in GSC action. Valdosta State is the only undefeated team in the East Division.
VSU used another balanced effort to shoot down the Lions. Tamika Booker led Valdosta State with 13 points while Sczeny Hartry and Michelle Thompson each scored 11 points. Brittany Hudson and Leschelle Matthews both scored nine points and passed for three assists. Hudson added two blocks and two steals to the stat sheet. Courtney Mitchell led all rebounders with nine.
The Lady Blazers forced 20 assists and scored 28 points off the miscues. Booker and Hudson helped VSU dominate in the lane as the Lady Blazers scored 38 points in the paint to North Alabama's 16 points. That production in the lane paved the way for VSU to shoot 45.8 percent.
Valdosta State made sure the game was never in question. The only lead change came after UNA scored the first basket of the game. After that the Lady Blazers built up to a 22-point lead with 8:37 left in the second half.
For the Lions, Amber Rutherford led the way with 15 points. Dana Jackson scored 14 and Lacy Lewis put in 10. Jameica York dished out four assists while Jackson led the team in rebounds with seven.
The Lady Blazers will look to keep the ball rolling on the road against West Alabama Thursday night.