Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

January 19, 2013

VSU basketball looking for key wins today at West Florida

VALDOSTA — It might only be Jan. 19, but the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Valdosta State are in must-win scenarios today at West Florida.

The Lady Blazers, riding a two-game losing streak, will face the Lady Argonauts at 3 p.m. Eastern, with the men’s game following at 5 p.m.

Today’s games will be the final road games for the Valdosta State teams until Feb. 7, when they visit Alabama-Huntsville; they have four straight home games before then, starting Thursday against Christian Brothers.

“Playing on the road in this conference is very difficult,” Valdosta State men’s coach Mike Helfer said, “and winning on the road is very, very difficult.”

Both teams could use a win today in order to build momentum moving towards the home stand. With 12 games remaining until the Gulf South Conference tournament, and both teams currently sitting with records below .500 in conference play, wins are essential in order to move up in the conference rankings, which leads to a better seed in the conference tournament in March.

Heading into today’s game against West Florida, the Blazers are tied with the Argonauts for sixth in the GSC; both teams are 2-4 in conference play.

“At this point in time, every game is important,” Helfer said. “I wouldn’t put one game above the other. Any time you can somehow find a way to win on the road that is valuable. For us, we are trying to find a way to scrap one out on the road.”

If the Blazers are going to scrap out a win today against West Florida, they will have to improve on turnovers and free throws. During their three-game losing streak earlier this month, which ended last Saturday with a 91-88 overtime win over West Alabama, the Blazers shot just 61 percent from the free-throw line, which included a 52 percent performance in a 79-77 loss to Alabama-Huntsville Jan. 3 in Valdosta.

“I don’t know if I have a good answer other than practice them and have guys focus and  mentally realize how important free throws are,” Helfer said. “Sometimes a miss here and miss there leads to more pressure on the next guy. So right now, we are just trying to get to the line and then make them.”

In the win over West Alabama, that is exactly what the Blazers did. They got to the free-throw line, shooting a season-high 42 free throws in the OT win. The ability to get to the line helped the Blazers erase a nine-point deficit with 3:36 remaining in the second half, to force overtime. Once in the OT period, the Blazers made six free throws to secure the win.

“I was proud, battling back from that deficit,” Helfer said. “I thought we had played a very good basketball game, strategically. We found ourselves down and I think we showed some character to not tank it in and fight back and get a road win.”

On the women’s side, the Lady Blazers enter today’s game riding a two-game losing streak where they’ve been outscored by a combined 75-39 in the second half.

They are now eighth in the GSC, although Union and Shorter, ranked No. 1 and No. 7 in the standings, respectively, are not eligible to compete in the conference tournament this season as they continue their transition in becoming full-time Division II institutions.

Today, the Lady Blazers can take a massive step forward by visiting the 3-11 Lady Argos, who are 0-6 in conference play.

Up next for the Lady Blazers: The only other winless team in conference play, Christian Brothers.

A pair of wins over West Florida and Christian Brothers would put the Lady Blazers with a 4-4 record heading into next Saturday’s game against Delta State, which enters today with a 4-2 conference record, but a 9-5 overall record.

Just like that, the VSU women could be right back in the mix of the GSC women’s basketball race.

During their two-game losing streak — a 67-44 loss to West Georgia and a 58-46 loss to West Alabama — the Lady Blazers actually led by one-point at halftime in each game. Then, in the second half, they went on massive scoring droughts, minutes at a time, committing several turnovers and showed an inability to get to the free-throw line.

Once at the line, the Lady Blazers haven’t been able to convert.

At West Georgia, VSU was just 4 of 9 from the line and then 9 of 18 at the line at West Alabama.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • rachel.jpg Factor X Fitness holds Fitness Classic

    South Georgia is on the verge of muscling its way back into the national bodybuilding scene, ending a lengthy absence.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • No. 21 Blazer Softball faces Lee in regular season finale

    Expect Blazer Nation to be out at Steel's Diamond at Blazer Park in full force today and Saturday to watch their No. 21 Valdosta State softball team take on the Lee Lady Flames in the final series of the 2014 regular season.

    April 18, 2014

  • VHSsigning.jpg Goals Achieved

    The Valdosta High Wildcats hosted a scholarship signing ceremony for senior soccer player Dale Fulton Kent on Thursday afternoon in the schools’ Performing Arts Center.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • MLS.jpg Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

    Arthur Blank donned traditional soccer garb to mark his newest venture — an MLS team for Atlanta.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blazers try to garner momentum in GSC finale

    Valdosta State snapped its six-game losing streak a week ago. Now the Blazers are hoping to wrap up its Gulf South Conference schedule with some momentum ahead of next month’s conference tournament.

    April 17, 2014

  • Blazer barrage downs No. 23 Georgia College

    Valdosta State unleashed a season-high 19 hits and tied a season-best in runs as the Blazers defeated No. 23 Georgia College 15-8 in non-conference baseball action at John Kurtz Field Wednesday evening.

    April 17, 2014

  • 2014 Jump.jpg Showtime in the Down Under

    Just a junior in high school, Valwood’s Chandler Cargile has already seen things that most people don’t get to experience in a lifetime. Cargile recently returned to Lake Park from Mulwala, Australia, where he competed in the Barefoot Water Ski World Championships. The competition hosted participants from 15 countries and lasted for two weeks last month.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Valdosta State tennis gears up for GSC Tournament

    The Valdosta State men's and women's tennis teams are set to compete against the rest of the league in the Gulf South Conference Tournament, scheduled to be played this week in Montgomery, Ala. for the seventh straight season.

    April 17, 2014

  • Kaleb Whitfield against Crisp.jpg No Dome for Wildcats in Corky Kell Classic

    Valdosta High’s chance of playing in the Georgia Dome this year now depends on reaching the state championship game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140416-SGMC_Award002.jpg SGMC earns VISTA Award

    South Georgia Medical Center was awarded Wednesday with an American Society for Healthcare Engineering Vista Award.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Blazers Blog