Valdosta Daily Times

February 8, 2014

Blazers visit Alabama-Huntsville

Staff Reports
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State men's basketball team remains on the road as the Blazers travel to Alabama-Huntsville today for a Gulf South Conference game against the Chargers at 5 p.m.

The Blazers enter the weekend with a 12-6 overall record, including a 6-6 mark in GSC play.

VSU is coming off a 72-68 loss at the hands of West Alabama Thursday evening and currently stands tied for sixth in the Gulf South Conference standings, just half a game behind UAH and North Alabama for fourth.

Jeremy McKay scored a game-high 22 points to lead VSU Thursday evening, the second time this year he has topped the 20-point barrier. The senior guard made 9-of-17 shots in that game and also had a team-high five rebounds and two steals.

 Meanwhile, David Murray continued his recent string of hot shooting as he made 5-of-8 field goals, including 3-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc, while Jalen Crawford had 13 points and two assists. The contest also marked the sixth time in 10 games that Crawford did not commit a turnover as the Valdosta State point guard.

Crawford leads the Blazers at 14.7 points per game while Blake Justice is just behind at 14.2. McKay adds 13.4 points and outing and Murray 12.2 to go along with 9.3 rebounds per contest. Valdosta State shoots 43.3 percent from the field and has proven to be adept at taking care of the ball as of late as VSU has committed just 86 turnovers in its last 10 games, an average of just 8.6 per outing.

Scouting the Chargers

Under long-time head coach Lennie Acuff, Alabama-Huntsville have gone 11-9 in 2013-14, including a 7-6 record in Gulf South Conference play.

UAH faced a challenging start to the year as it dropped a 66-60 exhibition game to Vanderbilt before facing fellow Division I member Alabama A&M eight days later, a game the Chargers dropped 79-73. UAH has been a tough draw on its home court as the Chargers are 9-2 in home games this season

UAH currently has three players averaging double figures in points, led by sophomore guard Wayne Dedrick, who averages 18.5, but did not play against West Florida Thursday evening. Junior guard Ronnie Mack adds 14.3 points an outing while senior forward Conner Blasi scores 10.6. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Greg Gardner has dished out 129 assists in the Chargers' 20 games.

UAH shoots 45.5 percent from the floor and is a good free throw shooting squad as Alabama-Huntsville shoots 77.7 percent from the charity stripe as a squad. The Chargers distribute the ball well in their Princeton style offense as they have already recorded 312 assists on the year.

Lady Blazer looking for consecutive wins

The road trip continues for the Lady Blazers on Saturday as Valdosta State heads to Huntsville, Ala. to square off against the Lady Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville at 4 EST.

The Lady Blazers head into Saturday aiming to build on a recent convincing 73-55 win over the West Alabama Tigers in which Valdosta State teamed up for one of their best shooting nights of the current season.

In desperate need of a Gulf South Conference victory on Thursday night, the Lady Blazers answered the call in a hostile environment with a 51.1 percent shooting effort from the field. The performance was the team's best since the first game of the season when VSU shot 54.8 percent against Trinity Baptist on November 11. In addition, the Lady Blazer's 56.3 percent accuracy from three point range served as VSU's best long range shooting effort of the season.

Valdosta State's offensive efficiency, combined with 16 more rebounds than the opposing Tigers, helped the Lady Blazers break a three game losing streak and gain some much needed momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.

The Lady Chargers picked up a key victory of their own on Thursday night over the West Florida Argonauts, who entered Spragins Hall on the heels of a huge win over Delta State the weekend prior.

Jasmine Hammon and Jordan Smith carried the load offensively for the Lady Chargers in Thursday night's win, as they have all season long. Hammon put up 27 points in the contest, while Smith connected for 24. The performance by the pair of guards marked the ninth time this season that the two have each scored 20 points or more in the same game.

The last matchup between UAH and VSU took place just over one month ago on January 6 in Titletown at The Complex. The Lady Blazers outlasted the Lady Chargers 89-81 in that contest, due in large part to a 44.6 percent effort from the field.

Lady Blazer guards Kamyia Smith and April Thomas teamed up for a pair of 20-plus outings of their own in that matchup, as the duo

accounted for over half of VSU's points on the night with 22 and 24 point performances, respectively.

Valdosta State holds the advantage over UAH in the all-time series record with 31 wins against only 12 losses. Both teams have split their past two contests and will be looking to spark a hor streak with a win on Saturday.

Blazer basketball fans can catch the action live online at with live stats, audio, and a live webcast of both the men's and women's contests.