Blazers escape Statesmen late rally
Jan 27, 2013 | 627 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Valdosta state overcame a late Delta State rally to defeat Delta State 60-54 in Gulf South Conference men's basketball action in front of a national television audience at The Complex Saturday afternoon in Valdosta, Ga.

With the win, Valdosta State improved to 12-5 overall and 4-5 in GSC play. The Statesmen fell to 7-10 overall with a 3-6 mark in conference play.

The Statesmen shot 36.8 percent from the floor on 21-of-57 shooting. The Statesmen also committed 16 turnovers in the game. The Blazers shot just 32.8 percent in the game as they made only 20 of their 61 shots. However, VSU limited the Statesmen to 21-of-57 shooting, or 36.8 percent, and came up with 10 steals on 16 Delta State turnovers.

After Patrick Diop opened the scoring with a lay-up for Valdosta State, the Blazers made just one of their next 13 shots while falling behind 11-4 eight minutes into the game. The Delta State lead would grow as high as nine points over the ensuing three minutes of play before Valdosta State upped its defensive intensity to get back into the game.

The Statesmen missed their next seven shots while the Blazers closed to within 15-13 on a Josh Sparks lay-up with 5:01 to play in the first half. Terry Leake, Jr. responded with the only DSU basket of the final eight minutes of the half to put Delta State back in front by four.

Diop took over the remainder of the half as he scored the final 10 points of the frame for a 23-17 halftime Blazer lead.

Delta State scored the first four points of the second half to get within two points, but got no closer as Valdosta State responded with eight of the next 10 points. The Blazer lead grew to as much as 55-44 with 2:11 to play before the Statesmen began one final charge.

Cornell Knight led the DSU rally in the final two minutes as he scored seven of the game's next eight points to pull DSU within 55-52. After a David Murray free throw for the Blazers, Jack Madgen made two out of three free throws to close Delta State back to within two points, but Shaquille Harris connected on four straight charity shots for the Blazers to seal the victory.

Leake, Jr. led all scorers with 21 points with 16 rebounds, Madgen scored 14 points and Knight finished with 13.

Diop led Valdosta State with 20 points, Sparks and Harris added 11 points each while James Anacreon tallied nine points and 11 rebounds. The Blazers owned a 43-40 advantage in rebounding in the game and committed just 10 turnovers.

The Statesmen will be back in action at 4 p.m. Feb. 2 against Christian Brothers in Memphis.