Make it three in a row for the Valdosta State men’s basketball team.
The Blazers won their third consecutive Gulf South Conference game, beating the Union Bulldogs 81-70 Thursday night in Valdosta. The Blazers are now 13-5 overall and 5-5 in league play.
“We haven’t talked about stringing games together. We are just talking about taking it one game at a time,” Valdosta State head coach Mike Helfer said. “I think we are getting better. I think there is some stuff we have to work on, but I do think we are getting better, especially if you look at our turnovers. We’ve been able to keep those down the last few games.
“We just have to continue to make steps to progress towards February, and then obviously March Madness is right around the corner and anything can happen.”
Overcoming a slow shooting night, five different Blazers scored in double figures on the night. Led by senior Shaquille Harris’ 14 points, the Blazers never trailed and led by as many as 17 points in the second half, and cruised to the victory.
Senior James Anacreon finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Josh Sparks finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, while Patrick Diop and Alan Love also contributed with 11 points in the win.
Two more Blazers, Colin Cook and Jarroid Johnson, each finished with eight points, a total team effort that Helfer was pleased with.
“When you do it by committee, a lot of guys feel like they had something to do with it,” Helfer said. “We have been using a little term, sweat equity. If you don’t have any money to put into it, just bring the hard work, the labor. Just bring something to the team each night we play, whether it is one minute, 10 minutes or 40 minutes. Just bring something.”
The Blazers led for the majority of the first half, with the exception of when Union grabbed a one-point lead on two separate occasions in the early minutes. From there, the Blazers led for the remainder of the half, building a lead as large as 10 points and as small as one.
After building the lead to eight points with 13:12 remaining in the first half, coming off a David Murray free throw, the Blazers allowed Union back into the game, closing within one point on two separate occasions.
The Blazers responded, though, by using a 10-1 run to build their largest lead of the half, 33-23.
Cook started the run with a jumper, and was followed up by a Harris 3-pointer, a Murray tip-in and another Harris 3-pointer.
In the second half, Valdosta State’s lead got to as many as 17. After Union closed within 10, the Blazers used a 9-0 run, consisting of four baskets from four different players, to grab their largest lead of the day. Then Cook, who was one of the players to score during the run, added a free throw to push the lead to 57-40.
Union closed back within 11, but the Blazers quickly responded with four quick points in transition. Harris cleaned up a Sparks miss and then Sparks finished a breakaway dunk after receiving the lob pass from Diop. The lead was 15, 66-51, with 5:54 remaining, and Union was forced to take a time out to try to stop the Blazers’ momentum.
“I thought that was a very critical part of the game,” Helfer said. “If we had not scored and it would have gone from (11) to six, it would have been a completely different last 4 1/2 minutes. I think our guys did a good job at responding.”
The time out by Union worked, even if for just a few minutes. Union used a 6-0 run to close back within 10, but then Anacreon dunked the ball home, forced a steal and allowed Sparks to clean up his miss, dunking the ball home and pushing the Blazers’ lead back to 14 points. Once again, Union tried to battle back, coming as close as 10 points, 72-62, with 2:36 remaining.
Union never got closer, and the Blazers were able to secure the win.
VSU hosts North Alabama on Saturday at 8 p.m. VSU will honor its new Hall of Fame induction class, which will be inducted during a luncheon earlier in the day.
Make it three in a row for the Valdosta State men’s basketball team.
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Win or go home
The Valdosta State softball team faces Armstrong Atlantic University in an elimination game for the 2013 Division II Softball Championship Tournament today at noon.
Blazers fall to Molloy in eight innings
With only one out remaining and trailing by three, the Molloy Lions strung together four hits to plate three runs in the seventh followed by another run in the eighth inning to defeat Valdosta State’s softball team 5-4 in the first round of the 2013 Division II Softball National Championship Tournament on Thursday in Salem, Va.
Albritton, Johnson earn All-America honors
Valdosta State softball players Courtney Albritton and Morgan Johnson gathered multiple All-America honors late Wednesday night.
Sending the Blazers off
The Valdosta State softball team made the long journey to Salem, Va. Tuesday, leaving Valdosta at 10:30 a.m. with devoted fans cheering them out of the parking lot.
VSU softball wins South Region, headed to nationals
For the third time in four years, and second in a row, Valdosta State’s softball team will play in the national championship tournament.
The Blazers won their third South Region championship Saturday, beating Alabama-Huntsville 8-3 in game three of the best-of-three series at Steel’s Diamond at Blazer Park.
VSU baseball season comes to an end
Delta State scored seven unanswered runs to defeat Valdosta State 7-2 in an elimination game of the NCAA South Region Tournament at the UT Baseball Field Saturday afternoon.
Blazers host respected rival UAH in Super Regional
One would expect a matchup featuring two of the top softball programs in Division II to come in the national championship game.
Unfortunately for Valdosta State and Alabama-Huntsville, who have combined to appear in four straight national championship games, they won’t be meeting in title game on Memorial Day in Salem, Va.
Blazers lose to Delta State, fall to loser’s bracket
If the Valdosta State baseball team is going to win the South Region Tournament, the Blazers going to have to do it from the loser’s bracket.
The Blazers (33-17) dropped their first game of the tournament Thursday, falling to Delta State 4-2 at UT Baseball Stadium.
VSU will face Stillman College, which lost to No. 1 seed and tournament host Tampa Thursday, Friday at 11 a.m. to advance to the weekend portion of the tournament. The loser will be eliminated.
Former Lady Blazer Ferguson hired to lead Vikettes
The sign above the door still has Shan Garner’s name on it. There is even a Shan Garner plaque sitting on one of the shelves in the corner of the gymnasium office.
That will soon change, though, as Lowndes has hired its newest girls’ basketball coach.
VSU wins 7th GSC Men’s All-Sports Trophy
Look out Title Town, another trophy is coming to town.
Valdosta State’s athletic department was awarded a seventh Gulf South Conference Men’s All-Sports Trophy Tuesday, sharing the honor with West Florida.
The tie between VSU and West Florida marked the first time in the GSC’s 42-year history that a pair of schools shared the honor. Both schools finished the athletic season with 29.5 points, based on the conference’s point system that gauges athletic success.
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