Valparaiso closed the first half on a 9-3 run to pull within five at halftime, but Oral Roberts pulled away in the second half and defeated the Crusaders, 75-60, Saturday afternoon in Tulsa, Okla.
Junior Calum MacLeod (Wellington, New Zealand/Hutt Valley [Northeastern J.C.]) drained a 3-pointer with 2:56 to play in the half to cut the deficit to 33-25, and followed nearly two minutes later with a hook shot. ORU countered with a 3-point play to bring its lead back to nine, but Samuel Haanpaa (Kerava, Finland/Cornerstone [Texas] Christian) hit two free throws and Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) forced a turnover and converted a runner in the lane to end the half down just 36-31.
The start of the second half did not go nearly as well for Valpo, as the Crusaders hit just 1-of-6 shots in the first 6:30 of the stanza while turning the ball over five times. The Golden Eagles scored the first 10 points of the half and outscored Valpo 17-3 over the 6:30 span, extending their lead to 53-34. A layup by Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) stopped the ORU run, but the Crusaders could close no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Valpo hung with Oral Roberts out of the gate, going up 9-7 at the first media timeout on a 3-point play by Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan). The Golden Eagles used a 17-4 run over the next 5:30 to pull ahead by double digits, including two triples from Ken Tutt. The lead fluctuated between nine and 12 points for most of the rest of the half before the Crusader run cut the halftime deficit to five.
MacLeod finished with a game-high 17 points, just one off of his season high. The junior college transfer hit 6-of-7 shots from the floor, including a 3-pointer, and also hit 4-of-5 from the charity stripe. Igbavboa was the only other Crusader in double figures with 12 points.
Adam Liberty paced Oral Roberts (9-7, 2-0 Mid-Con)with 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers for the victors. Caleb Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds, while three other Golden Eagles also scored at least 10 points.
The two teams were nearly even in their shooting percentage, as Valpo hit 44.4% (20-of-45) of its shots versus ORU's 44.8% (26-of-58). The Golden Eagles held a significant advantage behind the arc, draining eight 3-pointers to just two for Valpo. The Crusaders continued their solid free throw shooting, hitting 78.3% (18-of-23).
Valparaiso (6-9, 1-1 Mid-Con) continues conference play next weekend, coming home to the Athletics-Recreation Center for tilts against Oakland on Thursday and IUPUI on Saturday. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7:05 p.m., and can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.