The Valdosta Daily Times
JACKSON, Tenn. —
David Murray and Shaquille Harris combined to hit nine three-pointers, and Valdosta State defeated Union 83-70 in Gulf South Conference men’s basketball action at Delay Gymnasium Thursday evening.
Win the win, Valdosta State improved to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in GSC play while Union fell to 1-4 and 0-1 in league action.
Union jumped out to an early lead as the Bulldogs scored nine of the first 12 points of the game. UU connected on three of its first four field goal attempts while VSU missed four of its first five shots as the Bulldogs built their six point lead.
Valdosta State fought back as it used a 12-6 run to claim its first lead with 12:10 to play in the first half. Murray led the Blazer charge as he connected on a pair of three-pointers while Demetris Allen eventually put VSU in front with a jumper for a 15-14 VSU advantage.
The two teams struggled to score over the remainder of the half, as Union connected on just four of its next 17 attempts while Valdosta State went 7-for-18 during the span. The lead exchanged hands six times during the final 12 minutes, which also saw two ties, before Harris scored eight of the half’s final 10 points, on a pair of three-pointers and two free throws, to give VSU a 37-32 halftime lead.
Josh Sparks helped the Blazers slowly stretch their lead in the first eight minutes of the second half as he scored 10 of the 20 points scored by Valdosta State during the frame to push VSU to a 57-48 lead with 11:48 to play in the game. Sparks connected on all three of his field goals as well as all four free throw attempts during the run, which saw the VSU lead hit nine points three different times while dipping no lower than five.
After a Harris trifecta gave Valdosta State a 10-point lead with 11:10 remaining, Union used a 7-0 run to close back to within five points, despite missing five of its six field goals during that run. However, the Bulldogs hit five of its six free throws during the run.
Valdosta State responded to the short run by Union with a 16-2 spurt of its own to once again grab a double-digit lead. James Anacreon led the charge during the run as he scored eight points, including a pair of three-point conversions, while Murray hit a jumper with 4:09 to go in the contest to give the Blazers a 76-59 lead.
Union got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way as the Blazers were able to run out the clock for the victory.
Murray scored a game-high 20 points and had eight rebounds as he connected on 5-of-9 three pointers on the night.
Harris added 19 points, including 4-of-9 from three, as Valdosta State hit a season-high 10 trifectas in the game.
Anacreon added his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Sparks added 13 points and eight boards.
Valdosta State connected on 27-of-59 field goal attempts to shoot 45.8 percent from the field and owned a 43-31 advantage in rebounding in the game.
Anthony Freeman, Jr. led Union with 20 points while Corieon Pearson added 16. The Bulldogs shot 40.3 percent from the floor as they converted on 25-of-62 shots.
Valdosta State remains on the road and in Gulf South Conference play as the Blazers travel to Florence, Ala. to play North Alabama on Saturday. The tip-off for the game, which was originally slated for 4 p.m. Eastern, has been moved to 3 p.m.