VSU Scorches UNA in Overtime

VALDOSTA, Ga. – Ray Cummings scored a career-high 22 points to lead six Valdosta State players in double-figure scoring as the Blazers claimed a 92-86 overtime victory in Gulf South Conference men’s basketball action Monday evening.

Cummings hit eight-of-11 field goal attempts and six-of-eight free
throws while also grabbing a career-best 12 rebounds. Devario Hudson
added 17 for VSU (9-6, 1-0) while Ricky Coleman had 16, Jaquan Bray 12,
Stephan Walton 11 and Jamahl Stokes 10.

The score remained close throughout the first half, which featured
eight lead changes and two ties. VSU’s largest lead reached just four
points, on three different occasions, during the first 20 minutes of
play while the Lions (13-6, 1-1) led by as much as five, at 16-11
during the frame. UNA scored four of the final six points of the half
to claim a 36-35 lead at the half.

North Alabama pushed its advantage to as much as 40-37 early in the
second half before the Blazers used a 16-2 run to grab an 11 point
lead. Coleman opened the run with a jumper before Stokes added a pair
of baskets. UNA’s Andrew Chesney responded with a lay-up, but Coleman
added a pair of three-pointers to extend the VSU lead to 49-42. Walton
and Hudson closed out the run with a pair of jumper as the Blazers
grabbed the game’s largest lead at 53-42 with 14:34 remaining in
regulation.

The Lions spent little time getting back in the game as they scored 15
of the next 20 points to close to within 58-57 with 9:17 remaining.
Five different UNA players scored during the run, which culminated with
a Thomas Fraise three.

The remaining nine minutes of regulation saw four ties and six lead
changes as neither team built an advantage of more than five points.
Casey Holt forced the overtime period with a running jumper along the
right baseline with 13 seconds remaining to even the contest at 79-79
at the end of the second quarter.

Valdosta State never trailed during the extra frame as it scored six of
the first eight points. Stokes opened the scoring with a pair of free
throws before Holt responded with a lay-in for the Lions. Cummings’
lay-up with 3:52 remaining gave the Blazers the lead for good while
Hudson pushed the advantage to 85-81 with 3:19 to go.

The Blazer lead grew to as much as 92-84 as VSU hit four-of-seven field
goal attempts and added five free throws in the overtime period.
Meanwhile, North Alabama was held to three-of-10 shooting from the
field and just one-of-three from the free throw line.

Valdosta State shot 43.0 percent (34-of-79) from the floor in the game
and owned a 61-37 advantage in rebounding. Stokes tied a career-high
with 13 rebounds and established a new personal-best with six blocked
shots while Hudson tallied nine boards. VSU also hit 18-of-24 free
throw attempts.

Fraise led the Lions with 20 points and nine rebounds while Kenny
Johnson had 15. Quinn Beckwith added 13 points while Chesney and Holt
finished with 12 each. UNA hit 33-of-76 field goal attempts (43.4
percent) and registered eight steals on 17 Valdosta State turnovers.

Valdosta State returns to action Saturday, January 19 when it continues
Gulf South Conference play at West Georgia. Tip-off is scheduled for
7:30 p.m.

Coach Kiley Hill and the VSU women's basketball team also won the early game at The Complex. The Lady Blazers defeated the Lady Lions 57-48.


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