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Vikings shot at another Horizon League men’s title is ‘Theirs to lose’

By Jim Berdysz

Feb. 2, 2012

The calendar may have only flipped to February, but the road to March Madness for the Vikings men’s basketball team is heating up. With a record of 18-4 overall and 8-2 in the Horizon League, CSU has taken a half game lead over Valparaiso to slide into sole possession of first place in the conference.

“Our confidence is very high right now,” said senior guard Tre Harmon. “More importantly we’re staying humble as a team knowing we could lose on any day.”
Winners of their last three games and six of their last seven, losing has not been something the Vikings have done much of this season. They have held opponents to a league-best 59 point average, and currently hold the title for the most road wins in the nation with nine.

“The conference title is definitely ours to lose,” Harmon said. “We feel like we have a target on our back to succeed, so every game is a must win from here on out.”
Beginning tomorrow, the Vikings will start a tough five game stretch all against Horizon League opponents, having to face league teams nine of the last 10 games to close out the regular season. While every game has its importance, two of the remaining games that standout for the Vikings are rematches with Valparaiso and Butler, both of which are at home.

“Home court advantage is very important,” Harmon said. “Anytime you can get the support of the fans behind you, it’s
an advantage.

The Vikings may have beaten Butler on the road for the first time since 2005 earlier in the year, but the team lost to Valparaiso 72-66 in their only meeting with the Crusaders this season.

“Valpo is a tough team, they have a new coaching staff and some good players that know how to put pressure on us,” Harmon said. “Playing Butler puts pressure on us as well because of the rivalry we have with them each year. The games we have against the Bulldogs are always big, but we’re zoning in on Valpo right now.”

Harmon himself may have already felt this pressure to win, as he not only leads CSU averaging 12 points per game, but has been the leading scorer two of the last three games as well.

“I am always trying to improve,” Harmon said. “Being a senior and a four-year player it’s my job to lead and be helpful for the team, and do whatever it takes to win each night.”

For one reason or another, number 67 has been lucky to the Vikings for most of the season, as the team is a remarkable 12-1 when scoring at least 67 points per game.
Being the team leader Harmon is, he knows it’s going to take a lot more than just playing as a team or scoring 67 points to push CSU over the top.

“We have to sacrifice for each other on the court,” Harmon said. “There has to be more togetherness between us as a team and when we do that, we are more likely to win, period.”