Last season, the VSU men’s basketball team mastered all kinds of ways to win basketball games.
So far this season, the new-look Blazers are relying heavily on 3-point shooting to get them wins.
After falling to Saint Leo last Friday night in their season opener, the Blazers put together wins on Saturday and Tuesday night over No. 17 Rollins College, which was a rematch of last year’s South Region Championship, and unranked Fort Valley State.
Throughout their first three games, VSU has attempted 70 three-point field goals. What is even more remarkable than the number of 3-pointers taken is the Blazers percentage at which they’re making them.
The red-hot Blazers are shooting 49 percent (34 of 70) from downtown to start the season, largely because of guard play that had head coach Mike Helfer excited before the start of the season.
“I’m happy because those guys are proven shooters and they’re just coming out and doing what they do best,” Helfer said. “That is what I kind of expect out of them and I just kind of knew they would make them.”
Although the Blazers are collectively draining their shots from behind the arc, one Blazer is excelling about the rest: junior guard Tristan Steele.
Steele, a transfer from Southwest Baptist, leads the team in 3-pointers, as he is shooting 51 percent (18 of 35) from downtown. Steele has led the Blazers in scoring in all three games this season and takes on the title of Gulf South Conference Player of the Week.
“I’m just knocking down open shots when my teammates get it to me,” Steele said. “I want them to knock down shots when I give them the ball. As long we continue winning, I’ll do whatever I can.”
Last season, the 3-point shooter on the team was Christian Hunter. So far this season, Hunter is 10 of 22 from 3-point range, which ranks second on the team.
“We have a lot of weapons,” Steele said of his teammates. “We’re missing some guys right now and when everyone gets back we’ll be even better.”
The Blazers return to action this weekend when they host Southern Wesleyan on Friday night and Armstrong Atlantic on Sunday afternoon.