VALDOSTA, Ga. – Ryan Nelson scored a game-high 20 points to lead Valdosta State to a 101-68 victory over St. Thomas in front of 1,325 fans in non-conference men’s basketball action at the P.E. Complex Friday evening.
Nelson connected on seven of his nine field goal attempts in the game, including all four of his three-point attempts, in establishing a new career-high in points. He also dished out five assists, against no turnovers, and blocked three shots while recording a pair of steals in the game.
St. Thomas (1-1) kept the game close for the first nine minutes before the Blazers (2-0) used a 13-2 run to open a double digit lead. Ricardo Lewis connected on a three to open the run before Tyrone Curnell scored on four straight free throws. Marvin Dibble added a three-point play and, after a Tracy Razz bucket for the Bobcats, Tristan Crawford scored on a three-pointer to put the Blazers up 31-17 with 8:19 to go in the first half.
STU closed to within 38-31 with 3:02 to go in the half and got a Razz three just before the buzzer to cut its deficit to 45-36 at the half.
The Blazers sealed the victory during the first four minutes of the second half as they opened the final 20 minutes of play on a 21-4 run. VSU connected on all eight of its shots during the run, including three trifectas from Nelson, to push its advantage to 66-40.
St. Thomas closed to within 22, at 79-57 with 8:14 to play, but got no closer as the Blazer shot 69.0 from the floor, connecting on 20-of-29 field goals, during the second half. Nelson pushed the lead to 30 points with his fourth three of the half with 5:41 to play before leaving to a standing ovation three minutes later.
Curnell tallied his 11th career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He hit all five of his field goals in the game and five-of-six free throws. Hunter added 15 points and Dibble 11 while McShepard finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Valdosta State shot 60.0 percent from the floor in the game as it hit 33-of-55 field goal attempts. After connecting on 17 threes in its season opening win over Carver Bible Monday evening, VSU remained hot from beyond the arc as it was 14-of-22 from outside on the evening, including a 10-of-11 showing from three-point in the second half of play.
The Blazers owned a 36-31 advantage in rebounding in the game and tallied five blocks and 13 steals while dishing out 17 assists on the evening.
Antonio Jones and Razz scored 17 each to lead St. Thomas while Patrick Louissant finished with 16. The Bobcats shot 36.1 percent from the field in the contest and were hampered by 23 turnovers.
The Blazers return to action Saturday, November 21 when they host Florida Memorial at 8:00 p.m. in the P.E. Complex.