VALDOSTA, Ga. - Devario Hudson set career-highs in points and rebounds to lead Valdosta State to 93-80 non-conference victory over Carver Thursday night in the P.E. Complex.
Hudson scored 25 points and pulled down 18 rebounds while matching a career-best with five blocked shots. He hit 12-of-22 field goal attempts and also recorded two steals in the game.
The game remained close throughout the first half as neither team led by more than four during the first 17 minutes of play, during which there were eight ties and eight lead changes.
Carver (1-7) built a four point just six and a half minutes into the contest as it scored six straight points. Jeremy Russell began the run with a jumper before scoring on a fast break lay-up with after a Fred Clyde steal. On the Blazers' next trip down the floor, Russell picked off a Stephan Walton pass and raced down the court for a lay-up and a 20-16 Cougar lead with 13:37 remaining.
VSU (1-0) fought back with a Hudson lay-up and jumper and eventually built a 27-24 lead with 9:02, only to have Carver respond with a Joshua Caston three-point play to tie the game.
The game remained even over the next five minutes before the Blazers grabbed control with an 8-0 run. DeAndre Washington began the spurt with a put-back off a Korey Spates miss before Hudson took an alley-oop pass from Spates for a dunk. Spates proceeded to record his second straight steal and fed Ricky Coleman for a jumper while Hudson closed out the spurt with a jumper to give the Blazers a 43-35 lead with 49 seconds remaining in the frame.
Carver added a pair of buckets before the conclusion of the half to cut its deficit to 43-39 at the half.
The Cougars opened the second half on a run as they hit nine of their first 14 shots of the frame, including six straight. With VSU up 47-45, Jeremy Mahaffey hit a la-up to tie the ball game before Kent Dorsey's lay-in gave CBC a two-point advantage. Caston and Mahaffey followed with a pair of jumpers before Clyde hit a three and Dorsey a lay-up to give the Cougars their largest lead of the night at 58-53 with 14:16 remaining in the game.
Valdosta State quickly responded as Washington scored on a put-back while Coleman and Bahaadar Russell hit a three each before Washington added a jumper. After a Reggie Anderson free throw for Carver, Russell and Hudson scored on a pair of jumpers before Dorsey answered with a lay-up for the Cougars. Russell closed out the 17-3 VSU lead with a three from the top of the key to give the Blazers a 70-61 lead that it would not relinquish.
Carver closed to within three, at 74-71 with 7:38 remaining, only to have the Blazers score eight straight points to solidify the win.
Washington, a freshman playing in his first game for the Blazers, added 12 points and 17 rebounds while Coleman finished with a career-high 22 points. Russell added 14 points and eight assists while Spates had five of VSU's 11 steals. The Blazers also blocked eight shots as a team and recorded 67 rebounds, just six shy of the school record of 73 set in 1975, while hitting 40-of-88 field goal attempts (45.5 percent).
Carver had four players score in double figures, led by Russell with 19. Dorsey finished with 16 and Anderson 15 while Caston had 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars forced 26 Blazer turnovers, recording 10 steals in the process, but shot just 37.8 percent (31-of-82) in the game.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, November 17 when it plays Puerto Rico-Cayey at 6:00 p.m. in the P.E. Complex.