Valdosta Daily Times

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December 20, 2013

Valdosta State basketball drops both games against Lee

Men's Basketball falls 72-59 at Lee and Lady Blazers fall 69-44 to Lady Flames in GSC matchup

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — No. 25 Valdosta State shot a season-low 31.3 percent from the floor as it fell 72-59 to Lee in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action at Walker Arena Thursday evening.

With the loss, Valdosta State falls to 7-1 overall and 1-1 in GSC play while Lee improves to 6-2 and 2-0 in league action.

Lee led for much of the first half as, after the Blazers opened the game by scoring five of nine points, the Flames responded with a 9-3 run to grab the lead.

Tyquan Roberts and Stedmond Ford connected on three-pointers to put LU in front before Jarod Leonard made a trifecta for the Blazers. Corey Billingsley followed with a lay-up off an assist by Roberts and was fouled in the process. He converted the free throw to put Lee in front 13-8 less than six minutes into the contest.

Jeremy McKay and Jalen Crawford followed with jumpers for Valdosta State, but the Blazers made just one of their next six field goal attempts as the Flames opened their largest lead of the half at 22-14 on a Ford three-pointer with just over eight minutes to play.

VSU once again fought back as it used a 14-6 run to even the game at 28-28 when Leonard made a pair of free throws at the 3:03 mark.

Billingsley responded with two charity shots for Lee 30 seconds later and Ford added his fourth three-pointer, on as many attempts, of the first half to once again put LU in front.

McKay made a trifecta for the Blazers and later added a free throw, but Valentino Thomas scored on a lay-up for the Flames just before the halftime break to give LU a 35-32 edge at the intermission.

After making just 11-of-33 field goal attempts in the first half, Valdosta State's shooting woes continued in the opening minutes of the second half as it made just one of its first five shots of the frame. Lee took advantage as it opened the frame on a 11-3 run to grab its largest lead of the game at 46-35 with 15 minutes to play.

The Flame lead remained at 11 points for the next two minutes before VSU took to the free throw line to spur on a 7-0 run.

Larry Stone made the first three free throws and McKay connected on a jumper before Crawford added two more charity shots to pull the Blazers to within 48-44 at the 12 minute media timeout.

Valdosta State was unable to get closer as it missed its next nine field goal attempts and made just one of three free throws over the next five minutes of play.

Lee was unable to capitalize as it made only two shots during the span, which ended when Crawford hit a jumper with 6:12 to play and Colin Cook wrapped a pair of lay-ups around a Ford three-pointer for Lee. McKay added a basket to pull VSU to within 58-53 with 3:37 remaining.

Lee closed the game on a 14-6 run as the Blazers made just two of their final eight shots.

Overall, the Blazers made 20-of-64 field goal attempts, including just 5-of-26 from three-point. McKay led VSU with 17 points while Leonard added 11.

Lee also struggled offensively on the night as it shot 37.5 percent while making 24-of-64 attempts. Billingsley scored 20 points to lead the Flames while Ford added 15. However, LU held a 49-33 advantage in rebounding in the game.

Valdosta State takes the next 16 days off before returning home to The Complex to host GSC foe West Alabama on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m.

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