Valdosta Daily Times

February 8, 2013

Blazers fall to Alabama-Huntsville, despite four players scoring in double figures

The Valdosta Daily Times

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — In a game riddled with fouls, No. 8 Alabama-Huntsville defeated Valdosta State 77-70 in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at Spragins Hall,  despite four Blazer players scoring in double figures.

James Anacreon finished with a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds, while Patrick Diop and Josh Sparks finished with 11 and Shaquille Harris 10, as the Blazers fell to rival Alabama-Huntsville for the second time this season.

 The two teams combined for 49 fouls, 25 by Valdosta State and 24 by UAH, and shot a total of 70 free throws as VSU made 25-of-33 and the Chargers 26-of-37.

Alabama-Huntsville used an early 11-0 run to grab the lead. Trailing 7-5, Ronnie Mack hit a three-pointer for the Chargers before Zane Campbell hit a basket and assisted on a Wayne Dedrick bucket. Dedrick added a trifecta to give UAH a 15-7 lead 11:43 to play in the first half.

After making three of its first six field goal attempts, Valdosta State struggled to score over the next seven minutes as it missed its next eight shots. James Anacreon finally ended the Blazer drought with a put-back basket at the 10:28 mark, and added a dunk 90 seconds later.

 As Anacreon heated up, Alabama-Huntsville began to struggle from the floor as it made just one out of its next 12 shots, a three-pointer by Dedrick. Josh Sparks added a free throw and Anacreon a three-point play before Sparks hit two more free throws to pull VSU to within 19-17 with just over six minutes to play in the first half.

 Both Anacreon and Sparks picked up their second foul of the game within a minute of pulling Valdosta State to within two points and the Blazers struggled to score over the remainder of the half, but saw the Chargers hit six free throws and two shots during the span as UAH built a 29-23 halftime lead.

 Anacreon returned to the lineup at the start of the second half and scored the first two baskets of the frame while Patrick Diop added a fast break lay-up. Anacreon gave VSU its first lead since 7-5 with a dunk off a Diop steal to extend the VSU run to 8-0 before Diop hit a three-pointer to give Valdosta State a 34-29 lead less than three minutes into the second half.

After a Dedrick three-pointer for Alabama-Huntsville, Anacreon hit his fourth basket of the second half, but quickly picked up his third foul that once again forced him from the game. Two minutes later Sparks also committed his third foul and VSU once again found the scoring difficult as VSU went more than two minutes without scoring, snapping the streak only when both players check back into the game just before the 12 minute mark, by which point  the Chargers had regained a 42-41 advantage.

 The lead changed hands six times and was tied on three occasions over the ensuing seven minutes before Andrew Donovan finally gave UAH a six point cushion as he scored six straight Charger points. Valdosta State made one last charge as it closed to within three points on a pair of Sparks free throws with 42 seconds remaining.  VSU visits Shorter on Saturday afternoon.