Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 5, 2014

West Alabama falls on visit against Valdosta State basketball

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State Blazers (8-1) overcame foul trouble and poor second half shooting to knock off the West Alabama Tigers (5-5) 93-83 Saturday night.

Leading by as many 16 points in the game, the Blazers struggled to contain the Tigers’ penetration in the second half.

“I thought it was a great effort,” Blazers head coach Mike Helfer said. “We showed a lot of heart, a lot of character when a team comes back on you and takes the lead. It’s hard to get back and I thought our guys really hung tough. We really just played with some mental toughness in those stretches.”

Gulf South Conference leader in blocks, Blazer Colin Cook was saddled with four fouls early in the second half and the Tigers took full advantage.

With Cook out of the game, the Tigers exploited the Blazers in the paint. UWA senior point guard Desmond Raymond scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half with a flurry of forays to the basket and momentum-changing three-pointers.

“When you take a 6’9” shot blocker out of the middle, obviously it opens things up,” Helfer said. “[West Alabama] was good at driving it to the rim—they’re all long and lanky. They can finish at the rim and I thought they had a great game plan.”

“Losing Cook hurt us, but I was proud of Jarod [Leonard], who came in and gave us good minutes. I thought we did a good job as a group.”

    UWA rallied to take a 66-63 lead with 10:25 to go in the game on a layup by senior guard-forward Sandy Underwood.

The Tigers’ lead was short-lived as sophomore guard Blake Justice picked the pocket of UWA guard Aaron Cobb and fed Murray for a three-pointer in transition to give the Blazers a 72-69 lead. The Blazers would not trail again in the contest.

“When Cook fouled out, we had some guys step up and play pretty big,” senior forward David Murray said. “We weathered the storm.”

The Blazers led 49-37 at halftime behind 16 points by Jalen Crawford, who made 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. UWA forward Leon Tillman scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first half.

VSU shot 52.8 percent from the floor in the opening frame, while the Tigers shot 43.8 percent.

The Blazers were led by Crawford’s 25 points. Leonard added 14 points. Murray had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Jeremy McKay chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds.

UWA got a game-high 28 points from Raymond as well as 19 points and 10 rebounds from Tillman. Guard Jarell Byrd added 14 points and seven rebounds and forward Mychal Bester poured in 10 for the Tigers.

The Blazers will have a day to catch their breath before GSC powerhouse Alabama-Huntsville (6-5) visits The Complex on Monday.

“They’re very good,” Helfer said. “They’ve won for years and I expect them to come in well-prepared. I don’t think there’s going to be many GSC games that will be runaways. Hopefully, we can make a few stop down the stretch. You just never know.”

Tip-off for Monday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. following the Lady Blazers’ tip at 5 p.m.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lowndes_McPherson.jpg Milestones on tap for upcoming season

    Some milestones are destined to occur, like when Georgia Christian hosts David Emanuel on Aug. 22 in the Generals’ first varsity football game since the late 1960s.
    Others will have to wait and see what continues to take shape come Friday when teams can begin fall practice, and especially Aug. 1 when teams can suit up in pads for the first time, such as can Valdosta win its record 24th state title, or can Lowndes capture its fourth state championship under Randy McPherson, or can Valwood and coach Ashley Henderson play in its third straight GISA state championship game?
    As we start to find out the answers to those questions in just a few short weeks — the regular season is just 31 days away — there should be a few more milestones for area coaches to mark 2014 right along with the Generals getting back on the gridiron.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Jimbo.jpg Back on top

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ACC_Petrino.jpg Petrino returns to Louisville for first ACC season

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Braves_Marlins JUpton.jpg Jones lifts Marlins past Braves in 10

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ant Smith.JPG Anthony Smith ready for new test in college

    Smith was a three-year starter as a Wildcat and quickly worked his way up as a leader on both the defense and the team as a whole.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Wildcats participate in national 7-on-7 tournament

    The Valdosta High Wildcats have been working extremely hard this summer to prepare for the football season. Summer workouts and a plethora of 7-on-7 tournaments and competitions have kept the Wildcats busy.

    July 20, 2014

Blazers Blog