Written by Juston Lewis, Staff Writer
Head coach Mike Helfer has won his 400th collegiate game after a 79-62 victory over Delta State.
VSU came into the game in a three way tie for first place in the Gulf South Conference with Delta State and Alabama Huntsville.
VSU already lost to Alabama Huntsville at home on Jan. 2, so this game was crucial to their GSC seeding.
From the start of the game, both teams competed hard and the game remained tight for most of the way before the Blazers pulled away late in the second half.
Jeremiah Hill picked up two early fouls in the first half, which forced him to come off the floor, but in the second half he dominated the game for a stretch. Hill scored eight points and had two of his four assist in five minutes. He finished the game with 12 points and shot 50 percent from the field and three-point range.
Beau Justice led the Blazers in scoring with 16 points. He hit three of VSU’s nine three’s. Justice shot 50 percent from the field, 60 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the free throw line.
Nine different Blazers scored in the game and Helfer acknowledged the selflessness that his team shows on a consistent basis.
“It’s is kind of like the Golden State theory, who ever is scoring let them score,” Helfer said. “People aren’t hogging it and tying to get their own. That’s what makes this team different and special.”
The Blazers have been known for their offensive prowess this year, but they played well defensively against Delta State’s offense. VSU never let the two time GSC Player of the Week, Devin Schmidt, get comfortable and forced him to shoot 5-20 on the night, with seven turnovers.
Coach Helfer was modest about achieving his 400th win and didn’t credit himself for the team’s five game winning streak.
“I haven’t scored a point in my entire career, so it has to be about the players,” Helfer said. “If you don’t have good players, you aren’t going to be a good coach. We’ve been fortunate that every year of my career we have had good players.”
The Blazers drew a large crowd at the game and the P.E. Complex was packed with students and many people from the community. The crowd was very into the game, and Helfer said he enjoys coaching in an active environment.
“That is what college basketball is supposed to be,” Helfer said. “ It makes a difference in basketball because the fans are so close to you. You feel the energy and it makes it a fun environment to play in.”
The Blazers will be looking for a large crowd and a similar result this weekend as VSU Athletics is inducting its 2017 Hall of Fame members. The Blazers will face Mississippi College on Saturday at 4 p.m in the Complex.