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The best of Blazer basketball

It has been one week since the Valdosta State basketball team saw their season come to a close in the Elite 8 round of the Division II NCAA tournament when they fell to Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Despite two players, Tyrone Curnell and B.J. Dibble, being dismissed from the team hours before the Elite 8 round game, Valdosta State posted the best season in school history with a 28-5 record.
Here is a look back at the team’s impressive season.

Winning the close games:
Unlike last season when Valdosta State struggled in the close games, the Blazers excelled in the close games. Valdosta State saw four of their victories come in games decided by less than six points, which included a one point win in Carrollton, Ga. against in-state rival West Georgia and a one point victory in the fifth game of the season when they knocked off Clayton State, 88-87.

Knocking off the Nations best:
Two of the Blazers 28 wins this season came against two No. 1 ranked teams in the country. The Blazers knocked off Augusta State 81-75 on Jan. 16 in front of a packed Complex. The student body enjoyed a victory dance on the floor after the game.
The Blazers second win over a No. 1 ranked team came in the semifinals of the South Region Tournament when the Blazers knocked off host school Arkansas Tech, 72-60.

Player of the Week honors:
This season Valdosta State saw All-American Tyrone Curnell be named Gulf South Conference Player of the Week five times. Tristan Crawford was named Player of the Week one time.

Twenty point performances:
This season seven Blazers scored at least 20 points in a game. Marquis Robinson scored 20 points in his final home game at the Complex when the Blazers dominated in-state rival West Georgia.

Winning in the tournament:
This season was the fifth season for VSU head coach Mike Helfer. In his first four seasons Helfer managed zero NCAA tournament wins. However, this season Mike Helfer and the Blazers went 3-1 in the tournament. The Blazers knocked off 22nd ranked Clark Atlanta in the opening round, No. 1 ranked Arkansas Tech and 12th ranked Rollins before falling to IUP in the Elite 8.

Adding a Spark:
Midway through the season Valdosta State added five foot-10 inch junior guard Kevin Harris to the team. Harris made his presence felt as he scored 12 points in his first game with the Blazers. Harris recorded 18 points in VSU’s win over No. 1 ranked Augusta State. Harris topped his ASU performance when he led Valdosta State in scoring with 22 points in a come from behind victory over GSC East opponent Alabama-Huntsville.

Breaking the attendance record:
This season Valdosta State set the single game attendance record, twice. The Blazers broke the record when they hosted North Alabama when 3,419 filled the Complex to watch VSU top the Lions 81-70. The VSU faithful topped their previous record when 4,616 filled the Complex on Pack the Plex night when they Blazers dominated in-state rival West Georgia, 83-57.

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