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VSU Splits with Montavallo

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Courtesy of VSU athletics:

MONTEVALLO, Ala. - Valdosta State lost its second Gulf South Conference game in five tries with a 79-63 loss to Montevallo to fall to 15-4 overall and 3-2 in GSC action. The Blazers killed themselves from three-point range as the team went just two for 20 from deep.

Marvin Dibble and Tristan Crawford were the only Blazers to score in double figures with 15 and 12 respectively. Dibble led Valdosta State's efforts on the boards with six rebounds. It would not be enough, however, as UM's Nate Flowers doubled up with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Freddy Little scored 20. Two other Falcons were in double digits.

Montevallo started the game on a 10-2 run until Ricardo Lewis tossed an alley-oop to Tyrone Curnell for his second basket of the game. Lewis followed that up with a three-point play and Marvin Dibble converted two free throws to give VSU nine points. But the Blazers had no answer for Nate Flowers early. He had eight points in the first 10 minutes of the game to help Montevallo to a 19-9 lead. Flowers finished the half with 18 points.

Despite being behind, Valdosta State was able to draw Montevallo into the penalty with eight minutes left into the half. The Blazers were able to score eight points off free throws during the half, but Montevallo entering the penalty early didn't help the Blazers much. The fouls evened out to nine for each team by the end of the half.

In Valdosta State's second away game, the Lady Blazers played their second close game. Sczeny Hartry took over the final seconds of the game to secure a 51-50 victory for VSU over the Montevallo Falcons. The win move Valdosta State to 5-0 in Gulf South play and 15-4 overall.

Brittany Hudson secured her second double-double in as many games, almost entirely in the first half, but the story was Hartry's domination of the final seconds to end the game. As both teams jostled for the lead at the end, Hartry made two baskets knifing past the Montevallo defense and finished the game with a steal to deny the Falcons a scoring opportunity.

Hartry finished with eight points, but her defense along with that of Leschelle Matthews, Shakeda Richie and Michelle Thompson helped make it tough for Montevallo's guards to make any headway for most of the game.

Hudson and Tamika Booker scored 18 and 13 respectively to put pressure down low. In addition, Hudson led with 11 rebounds.

It didn't take Booker long to get back into action for the Lady Blazers after missing the game against West Alabama. She hit VSU's first basket two minutes into the game, but it was the only Lady Blazer score for the first six minutes of the game. Valdosta State's defense held strong though, only allowing six points to Montevallo in that time.

The scoring picked up with a Hudson lay-up at the 13:44 mark. After falling behind, 10-4, the Lady Blazers fought back to tie the game at 10 on a Booker free throw. Her and Hudson drew six of the eight first half fouls against the Falcons. Montevallo's foul trouble put their terrific post players, Katie Vanderhyden and Carrie Parrott, on the bench for much of the first half.

With Valdosta State down 20-14, Hudson and the Lady Blazers took over.

Booker hit a free throw to start the run, and then Hudson made a three-point play to keep the momentum going. From then on, a free throw from Erin Keller was the only point not scored by Hudson as she put in 10 points to give VSU the lead, 26-24. She finished the half with 16 points to match her Valdosta State career high and brought down eight rebounds.

With 20 seconds left in the half Montevallo's Shan Jones knocked down a three-pointer, but Matthews would make a terrific play with one second left to ensure the Lady Blazers the lead at halftime, 28-27.

Booker started the second half the same way she started the game: a left handed lay-up to start the scoring. Valdosta State would go on to build a seven-point lead, thanks to Keller. She made a crafty post move in the lane for two points. On the ensuing Montevallo possession, Keller stole the ball and led the break. With an assist that Richie finished, VSU gained the lead, 36-29, the biggest of the game.

The Falcons went on a 6-0 run, sparked by a few Valdosta State turnovers, until Hartry hit a jumper in the lane to make it 38-35 with 10 minutes left to play. Shortly after, off a media timeout, UM's Jones hit a three-pointer to tie it at 28. Montevallo's Alicia Lewis followed it up with a twisting lay-up to grab the lead for the Falcons.

Momentum turned after Matthews hit two free throws for VSU. Hartry stole the ball and Hudson tipped in two points to regain the lead for the Lady Blazers, 45-44.

With 90 seconds left to play, Booker went back to the lefty lay-up to again gain the lead, 47-46 for Valdosta State after another two points from Lewis. Free throws put Montevallo up again, but Hartry flew past her defender on the right side for a high-flying lay-up to make it 49-48. Montevallo's Lewis answered again, but, again, Valdosta State relied on Hartry. She converted off a spin move in the lane to make it

50-51 with just over four seconds left to play. To finish the game, Hartry made the final steal to secure VSU's fifth victory in conference play.

For Montevallo, Jones led with nine rebounds. Lewis led the way with 11 points while Jones and Parrot each scored 10. But UM's post players couldn't contain the combination of Booker and Hudson, and nobody could reign in Hartry at the end.

The Lady Blazers return home at 2 p.m. on Saturday against the West Florida Argonauts.

The first half ended with just two Blazers making more than one field

goal: Curnell and Tristan Crawford. Without the offensive production the Valdosta State is used to, the team found itself down, 38-25 at halftime.

Valdosta State opened the half with two quick baskets from Ray Cummings and Curnell. Curnell, though, would pick up his fourth foul of the game just four minutes into the second frame.

If the first half belonged to Nate Flowers, Freddy Little owned the first 10 minutes of the second. He put in three three-pointers to start the half and had 16 points at the 12:30 mark to make it 52-35 in favor of the Falcons.

De'Andre Johnson made a steal and led a four on two break. At the basket he dished to Crawford who pulled the Blazers within 10 points, 57-47, but UM's Terrill Humphrey retaliated with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession. Later, Dibble would convert a three-point play to bring the Falcons lead to 64-52 with just over six minutes left to play.

Later, the Blazers continued to hang around. Ryan Nelson tipped a bad pass to Lewis who converted the fast break lay-up to make it an 11-point game, 68-57, with just over three minutes left. With 2:17 left, it looked like Curnell tied the ball up to make it VSU's possession, but, instead, he was called for his fifth foul.

In the end, Valdosta State's effort would not be enough. The Blazers look to rebound Saturday at 4 p.m. against the Argonauts of West Florida.

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