Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 8, 2014

Blazer basketball to begin road game stretch

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State opens a four game road trip as the Blazer basketball team travels to Florence, Ala. and Flowers Hall to face North Alabama this Thursday at 9:00 p.m.

Valdosta State enters the contest with a 9-1 record and is 3-1 in Gulf South Conference play while North Alabama is 8-4 overall and 2-2 in league action.

The balanced Blazers have four players scoring in double figures and seven players that tally at least 7.7 points a game, led by junior guard Jalen Crawford at 14.7 point an outing. Jeremy McKay has scored in double figures in all 10 games this year and averages 14.3 a game while David Murray, who has five double-doubles on the season, is averaging a double-double at 11.8 points and 11.1 rebounds a game. Blake Justice has hit 24 three-pointers on the year and averages 13.8 points an outing.

Valdosta State is second in the GSC in points per game at 85.4 and allows 76.0 points a contest. The Blazers are second in the conference in scoring margin at 9.4 and trails only North Alabama in rebounds per game, as they pull down 42.7 per contest.

Scouting the Lions

Under long-time head coach Bobby Champagne, North Alabama has started the year 8-4, including a 2-2 record in Gulf South Conference play. Each of UNA's last four games have come in league action, as it opened conference play with an 85-80 win at Union before dropping games to West Georgia and Shorter. The Lions returned home to take down Lee, who earlier in the year defeated the Blazers, 76-69. In non-conference action, North Alabama faced a tough schedule which included a 94-85 loss at No. 4 Florida Southern.

UNA currently has three players averaging double figures in points, led by senior guard Rashaun Claiborne. Claiborne currently averages 19.3 points a game and pulls down 7.0 rebounds per contest while shooting 48.5 percent from the field. Senior forward Bruce Adams adds 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds a game off the bench while junior guard Nathan Spehr scores 11.3 points a game and has dished out 36 assists.

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