The Valdosta Daily Times
Florence, Ala. — UNA wins 51-49 thriller over Lady Blazers
Three of the last four games between North Alabama and Valdosta State have been decided by two points or less, and Thursday night's contest proved to be more of the same for the Gulf South Conference rivals, as Valdosta State fell 51-49 in a heartbreaking GSC loss in Florence, Ala..
The win held North Alabama's undefeated stint at home intact, as the Lions are now 5-0 at Flowers Hall this season.
UNA improved their overall record to 8-3, 3-2 in GSC play. The Lady Blazers fell to 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the GSC.
The contest featured five lead changes and three ties in the final ten minutes, but UNA held on to a slim lead during the final two minutes to pick up the win.
Valdosta State trailed by two with five seconds remaining, and Kamyia Smith picked up a foul on a layup attempt with less than one second on the game clock. Smith, who finished the night with a team high 11 points on 5-12 shooting from the field, was unable, however, to convert the front end of the one and one attempt.
In the second half, Lion guard Delisa Madry dealt some heavy blows to the Lady Blazers from beyond the arc with 12 points on four three pointers, one of which came at the 2:14 mark to break a 45-45 tie and give UNA a lead that they would hold for the remainder of the game.
Valdosta State's Reshaundra Owens nearly put together her first career double-double with 10 points and a team leading eight rebounds on the night.
The performance accounted for Owens' second straight contest in which the freshman tallied double digits offensively.
A majority of the damage was dished out by UNA's Lauren Faris, the reigning GSC Player of the Week, who finished the night with 15 points on 4-15 shooting from the field, one three pointer in seven attempts, and 6-9 shooting from the free throw line.
The Lady Blazers continue the road trip with another GSC matchup against the Union Bulldogs on Saturday at 3 p.m. EST in Jackson, Tenn.
Blazers fall 97-69 at North Alabama
Valdosta State struggled shooting the ball as the Blazers fell 97-69 to North Alabama Thursday evening in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at Flowers Hall.
VSU (9-2, 3-2) scored on its first field goal attempt of the night, a jumper by Colin Cook, but its shooting troubles commenced immediately afterwards as the Blazers missed their next three shots and eight out of their next 10 while falling behind by 14, at 21-7, less than seven minutes into the game.
North Alabama (9-4, 3-2) also struggled in the early going, as it missed seven of its first eight field goal tries, but soon found its range as the Lions made five out of their next six attempts and also connected on six free throw attempts to build the early double digit lead.
After the slow start, Valdosta State briefly pulled back to within 10 points, but the shooting struggles continued as the Lions responded with a 9-1 run over a two minute span to build their largest lead of the first half at 39-19 with 6:21 to play in the frame.
VSU got no closer than 12 points the remainder of the half before settling for a 50-36 deficit at the intermission.
The Blazers made three of their first five shots in the second half to briefly pull within 11 points, at 52-41, but got no closer as the shooting woes continued.
After the fast start to the final 20 minutes of the game, Valdosta State missed 14 of its next 17 attempts to fall behind by 22 points with just under nine minutes remaining.
VSU finally put together its first back-to-back buckets as Jeremy McKay hit a lay-up and Blake Justice a three-pointer, and the Blazers pulled to within 16 points on three different occasions in the next four minutes of action, only to have North Alabama score the next 12 points of the game. Sam Fleischman gave the Lions their largest lead with a three-pointer that made the score 97-68 with 1:08 to go.
Justice had 24 points and made eight of his 15 field goal attempts to lead the Blazers in the game while David Murray recorded his fifth double-double of the season by finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Jalen Crawford also scored in double figures with 16.
Valdosta State shot just 32.9 percent from the floor in the game as it made 23-of-70 field goal attempts and was out-rebounded 57-42.
Calvin Dade led UNA with 24 points and 14 rebounds while Rashaun Claiborne added 18, Wes Long 14 and Bruce Adams 12. The Lions connected on 40-of-85 field goal attempts to shoot 47.1 percent and committed just 10 turnovers, to 14 by VSU.
Valdosta State returns to action Saturday afternoon when it travels to Jackson, Tenn. to face Union at 5 p.m. Eastern.