Five players finished with double-digit point totals, and Valparaiso's lead reached as much as 26 points as the Crusaders cruised to a season-opening victory over Calumet, 84-65.
After the Crimson Wave took the early lead at 5-4, the Crusaders went to work, going on a 15-2 run over the next five minutes, capped by a Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) triple to make it a 12-point game at 19-7. The lead would fluctuate between 10 and 17 for the rest of the half, with a quick 4-0 spurt in the final minute by the visitors making it a 13-point game at the half, 40-27.
Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) led the Crusaders in the first half, pouring in a team-high nine points and ripping down nine rebounds on his way to his first career double-double. Igbavboa ended the game with career-high totals of 15 points, 15 rebounds, and
four blocked shots.
Calumet cut the lead to 11 at 41-30 one minute into the second half, but the Crusaders responded emphatically, running out on a 17-3 spurt over a 6:20 span to put the game away, as a Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) 3-pointer with 12:42 to play gave Valpo a 58-33 advantage. The Crimson Wave would try to answer back, as Chesterton native Tom Radtke put the team on his shoulders for 18 straight points over a span of 4:20, but Calumet could not get any closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Calum MacLeod (Wellington, New Zealand/Hutt Valley [Northeastern J.C.]) led the Crusaders with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting in his regular season debut. Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) finished one point shy of a career-high, pouring in 13 points, including three 3-pointers, while also dishing out five assists.
Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) enjoyed a solid all-around game, registering 12 points, four rebounds, and a career-high six assists. McPherson was the fifth Crusader in double figures, setting career-bests with 10 points and four assists.
Radtke led the visiting Crimson Wave with a game-high 26 points, including ten field goals, and eight rebounds. Evinn Herring was the only other Calumet player to reach double figures, pouring in five 3-pointers on his way to 20 points.
The Crusaders shot the ball at a 53.4% clip Saturday, hitting 31-of-58 shots, while holding Calumet to 38.5% shooting (25-of-65). Valpo also hit 9-of-19 3-point attempts to just 6-of-21 for the Crimson Wave.
Valparaiso (1-0) takes to the road for a three-game trip, beginning Monday night at IPFW. The tip is set for 6:00 p.m. Central time, and all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.