Blazers > Lemons Jumper Seals VSU Win

| January 23, 2015
VSU Photo

VSU Photo

VALDOSTA – A Josh Lemons jumper from the elbow with 16.2 second remaining propelled Valdosta State to a 67-66 victory over Alabama-Huntsville in Gulf South Conference men’s basketball action at The Complex Thursday evening.

After a Preston Herring lay-up with 52 seconds remaining gave UAH (13-5, 8-4) its final lead of the evening, a Herring foul gave Valdosta State (9-9, 4-8) the ball with 33 seconds on the clock and the ability to take the last shot. Following a Blazer timeout, Lemons drove against the Chargers’ 2-3 zone and found himself all alone for the go-ahead jumper. Alabama-Huntsville raced down the floor and Ronnie Mack attempted a driving lay-up, but Colin Cook blocked the ball out of bounds with 7.1 seconds remaining.

Following a Charger timeout, the inbounds pass was tipped by VSU and rolled off the arm of UAH’s Seab Webster, who was forced to run the ball down deep on the Blazer end of the court. Webster advanced the ball back to midcourt before being forced to throw up a shot at the buzzer, which bounced off the backboard just right of the rim to give VSU the victory.

Alabama-Huntsville dominated the early minutes of the game as it made nine of its first 12 field goal attempts to race out to a 25-11 advantage 11 minutes into the contest. The Chargers tallied assists on each of their first eight field goal attempts and made five three-pointers during the run before VSU adjusted to the UAH Princeton offense.

Valdosta State used its defense to get back into the game as it forced Alabama-Huntsville, who entered the game averaging just 12.0 turnovers per game on the season, into 13 first half turnovers, including 10 during the final nine minutes of play of the frame. The Blazers were particularly successful during the final six minutes of the frame, during which they used a 10-2 run, during which four different VSU players scored, to pull to within a single point before a Troy Saxton lay-up at the halftime buzzer gave UAH a 33-30 halftime edge.

The Chargers handled Valdosta State pressure defense better in the second half as they committed just four turnovers in the frame and scored nine of the first 14 points of the frame to once again push their lead back to seven points. However, the Blazers found their shooting touch in the second half, as they made 14 of their 23 second half field goal attempts, and fought back to tie the game at 42-42.

Alabama-Huntsville regained its lead and eventually built a 58-52 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the game before Valdosta State used its final run of the game to take the lead. Jeff Nibo connected on a three-pointer to pull VSU to within three points before James Spencer added a jumper in the paint. The two teams traded baskets on the next four possessions of the game before Spencer’s final basket of the evening with 2:24 to go gave the Blazers a 63-62 advantage, their first lead since the score stood at 2-0.

An exchange of baskets over the next 60 seconds set up the thrilling last minute of the game.

Spencer recorded his fourth double-double of the game as he finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The senior also dished out two assists and recorded three of Valdosta State’s nine steals in the game. Nibo added 15 points while Colin Cook finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

The Blazers shot 50.0 percent from the floor in the game as they made 26-of-52 field goal attempts and owned a 31-23 advantage in rebounds. VSU was particularly effective on the offensive boards as it recorded 12 offensive rebounds in the game and held a 14-2 advantage in second chance points. VSU also blocked four shots in the game, including four by Cook.

Alabama-Huntsville, which shot 57.4 percent from the floor, was led by Herring with 17 points, but was held to just two rebounds after entering the contest averaging 9.2 on the season. Webster added 16 points for the Chargers, who finished with 15 assists in the game, but also with 17 turnovers.

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