The Valdosta Daily Times
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —
No. 5 Alabama-Huntsville held Valdosta State to 33.8 percent shooting as the Chargers defeated the Blazers 82-64 in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at Spragins Hall Monday evening.
The Blazers (17-8, 4-4) connected on just 22-of-65 field goal attempts in the game while the Chargers (21-2, 8-0) hit 25-of-49 to shot 51.0 percent.
The Blazers fell behind by 13 points early in the second half, but they pulled with one of the Chargers on 3-point play by Kevin Harris with 5:57 left to go in the game. However, the Chargers ended the game on a 23-6 run. They hit 26 of 32 free throws, including several down the stretch, to put the Blazers away.
The Blazers have now dropped five of their last eight games.
Both teams came out on fire from the field as the Blazers connected on five of their first nine field goal attempts while Alabama-Huntsville connected on six of its first nine as the two squads battled to a 14-14 tie through the first 5:05 of play.
Valdosta State cooled off over the ensuing four minutes as it connected on just one of its next 12 shots, but grabbed 11 offensive rebounds during the first 10 minutes of the game and out-rebounded UAH 17-6 overall to trail just 18-16 at the media timeout.
VSU used an 8-4 run over the four minutes following the media timeout to grab a 24-22 advantage, only to have the Chargers respond with a 6-0 spurt to grab a 28-24. Valdosta State managed to even the game at 28-28 as UAH missed its next five field goal attempts, but Alabama-Huntsville scored five of the final eight points of the first half to grab a 33-31 halftime lead.
Valdosta State connected on just 10 of its 34 first half field goals to shoot just 29.4 percent in the frame while the Chargers shot 52.2 percent while connecting on 12-of-23 shot attempts. The Blazers kept the game close by out-rebounding UAH 25-17 in the frame, including 14 offensive rebounds, while also hitting five three-pointers.
The Chargers connected on eight of their first 14 shots of the second half, including a quartet of three-pointers, while also hitting two free throws to build a 13 point lead nine minutes into the frame. Meanwhile, VSU continued to struggle as it connected on just 4-of-14 field goals attempts during the span.
Trailing by 13, the Blazers used a 16-4 run Josh Sparks and Billy McShepard got back-to-back three-point plays to pull Valdosta State back to within single digits and, after a Josh Yost jumper for UAH, Christian Hunter hit a three and McShepard a jumper in the lane to close the Blazers to within 57-53 with 8:02 remaining in the ball game.
Tyler Hanback briefly stopped the Valdosta State run with two free throws for the Chargers, but Kevin Harris added a jumper and a three-point play to get the Blazers to within 59-58.
Josh Magette scored the next four points of the game while Xavier Baldwin added a pair of free throws, forcing a Blazer timeout with 4:40 remaining in the contest. Hunter added his third trifecta of the game out of the timeout, but VSU got no closer as the Chargers scored the next 15 points of the game including 11 on free throws, to once again push their lead into double digits.
McShepard led Valdosta State with 15 points and nine rebounds while Will Alston had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Hunter was the only other Blazer in double figures, finishing with 11. The Blazers owned a 43-36 advantage in rebounding.
Magette led all scorers with 22 points while Jamie Smith finished with 13 and Tyler Hanback 11. Alabama-Huntsville owned a huge advantage in free throws in the game as the Chargers connected on 26 while Valdosta State hit 11.
The Blazers return to action Saturday when they host Lambuth at 4 p.m. in The Complex