VALDOSTA, Ga. – Eighth-ranked Valdosta State used a stifling defense to defeat West Alabama 92-55 in Gulf South Conference men’s basketball action at the P.E. Complex Thursday evening.
The Tigers (10-9, 1-2) shot just 31.7 percent from the field in the game as they connected just 19-of-60 field goals in the game. No West Alabama player scored in double figures in the game as Jason Swanson, who entered the game averaging 15.4 points per game, was held to just four points on the night.
Valdosta State (17-2, 3-0) never trailed as it scored 15 of the first 20 points of the game. Tristan Crawford opened the game with a lay-up before Ryan Fitch scored on a dunk for UWA. Ricardo Lewis put VSU back in front with a three-pointer and Charles Belton scored on a lay-up before Chris Davis cut the Blazer lead to two with a trifecta. Tyrone Curnell had a hand in each of the next four VSU buckets, scoring on two dunks and a jumper while dishing out one of his four assists on the night on a Crawford lay-up to put the Blazers in front by 10 with 13:50 to go in the first half.
West Alabama fought back over the ensuing two minutes as it cut its deficit to six, only to have VSU respond with a 13-2 run to push its advantage to 31-14. The Valdosta State lead dipped no lower than 10 the rest of the half as a Lewis jumper right before the horn posted the Blazers to a 44-26 at the intermission.
The second half saw Valdosta State’s lead grow to 20, on a Belton jumper, just 10 seconds into the frame. The remainder of the game saw the VSU lead dip back into the teens for only 71 second of play as the Blazers connected on 19-of-35 shots during the half while holding West Alabama to just nine-of-27.
The Valdosta State lead stood at 66-42 with 11:26 when Curnell became the final VSU starter to head to the bench for the evening, but the Blazer second team showed no let-up as it pushed the advantage to 80-46 over the course of the next four minutes of play. Kevin Harris closed out the scoring with a jumper with 1:21 to play to give the Blazers their largest lead of the game.
Curnell led all scorers with 20 points, his fifth straight game with at least 20, while Lewis and Harris finished with 11 each. Billy McShepard also scored in double figures for the Blazers, finishing with 10. Valdosta State shot 54.5 percent from the floor in the game as it connected on 36-of-66 field goal attempts and owned a 46-36 advantage in rebounding. The Blazers also recorded 10 steals on 13 while Ryan Nelson blocked four shots.
Fitch led West Alabama with nine points while Davis and Trevell Coleman added eight each.
The Blazers return to action Saturday, January 23 at 8:00 p.m. when they host GSC foe Alabama-Huntsville in the P.E. Complex. The 14th class of the Valdosta State Athletics Hall of Fame will be honored at halftime of the game.
For further information, visit: www.vstateblazers.com