Blazers Top West Alabama 74-62

VALDOSTA, Ga. - Jamahl Stokes was a perfect seven-of-seven from the field and scored a team-high 17 points to lead Valdosta State to a 74-62 Gulf South Conference victory over visiting West Alabama in men's basketball action at the P.E. Complex Saturday evening.

The Tigers (5-12, 0-4) led for all but 2:12 of the first half as they hit eight of their first nine field goal attempts. Brian Murphy opened the scoring with a three before Ricky Coleman hit a jumper for the Blazers (10-8, 2-2). Demarcus King upped the UWA lead to 6-2 with a three before Abdoulaye N'diaye gave West Alabama a six point lead with a jumper. Chris Malone would add a three and a jumper while N'diaye and Maurice Naylor closed out the run with a jumper to give West Alabama a 19-14 advantage with 13:11 to go in the first half.

Valdosta State fought back, taking their first lead on a Coleman three with 9:57 remaining in the frame, only to have the Tigers use a 14-4 run to grab a 33-25 advantage, their largest lead of the game. The Blazers cut their deficit back to one before settling for a 38-33 deficit at the half.

West Alabama pushed its lead back to eight in the opening minute of the second half only to have VSU respond with a 10-0 run to grab the lead for good.

Stokes and Coleman opened the run with a pair of jumpers while Ray Cummings added a jumper. The junior forward evened the game and electrified the crowd the next trip down the floor with a fast break dunk over Taige Adderley while Coleman gave Valdosta State the lead with a dunk.
The Valdosta State lead continued to grow over the next six minutes, reaching 53-45 on a Tristan Crawford jumper with 10:35 to go in the contest and topping double-digits on a Devario Hudson lay-up, that gave VSU a 59-49 lead with 7:05 remaining.

The Tigers got no closer than seven, at 61-54, the rest of the game. Valdosta State hit nine-of-11 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Stokes added eight rebounds and three blocked shots as he led the Blazers in scoring for the first time this season. Coleman tallied 16 points while Cummings and Hudson had 12 each and Crawford 11. Hudson tallied his ninth double-double of the year as he also registered 13 rebounds in the game. The Blazers shot 43.1 percent (28-of-65) in the game and committed just seven turnovers. After struggling from the free throw line in its last two games, during which VSU hit just 5-of-24 charity shots, the Blazers hit 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) on the evening. Valdosta State also owned a 40-31 advantage in rebounding and pulled down 20 offensive rebounds.

King led the Tigers with 17 points while finishing as the only UWA player in double figure points. West Alabama shot 22-of-50 from the floor (44.0 percent), but committed 16 turnovers.

Valdosta State returns to action Monday, January 28 when it hosts Montevallo in Gulf South Conference action. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

Courtesy of VSU Athletics

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