Written by: Shane Thomas
The VSU men’s basketball team looks to move to 4-0 when they host undefeated (5-0) Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls on Saturday.
Following Sunday’s win over Carver Bible, Blazers head coach Mike Helfer believes his team can be better than what they’ve shown.
“You can’t have any mental lapses,” Helfer said. “I feel like we went through a couple of games early on and had lapses where we wouldn’t play well, and you can’t do that to beat a good team like Johnson C. Smith.”
JCSU enters Saturday’s game coming off a 65-59 victory over Virginia Union Wednesday night. Though the Golden Bulls are a non-conference opponent, Helfer stresses the importance of respecting JCSU and bringing the right disposition into the weekend contest.
“We’ve got to expect a very good basketball team,” Helfer said. “They’re 4-0 (5-0). They’ve got road wins already. They’re going to be good, and we’ve got to expect that from the get-go. I think there are two very good programs playing each other (Saturday).”
During their three-game winning streak, the Blazers have been dominant, outscoring their opponents by an average of 23.3 points per game. Against JCSU, the emphasis for VSU will be tough defense and limiting turnovers.
The Golden Bulls shoot well from the field (49.8 percent) and excel at forcing turnovers, as opponents are turning it over 19.3 times per game.
“I think they’re very good off the dribble, (and) they’ve got good post guys that finish around the rim,” Helfer said. “JCSU does a good job with their press, and they put a lot of pressure on the ball so we have to take care of the ball and make easy passes.”
Helfer acknowledges JCSU as a team that does a lot of things well and believes his team will need to play well in multiple areas to win.
“They don’t have many weaknesses,” Helfer said. “They’re a very solid team, so I’m not sure there’s one particular area (to exploit). To beat a good team, you have to play well at every position in almost every category, and if you don’t, it’s probably going to come back and bite you.”
Saturday’s game against JCSU will be the last home game for the Blazers before they hit the road for the first time this season.
“Whether you play at home or on the road, I don’t think that really matters,” Helfer said. “It’s probably going to be close; both teams are going to play extremely hard. It’s an early season matchup, and it should be fun to watch.”
This article was written by Shane Thomas.
Tip-off for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the P.E. Complex.