Valparaiso, Ind. - Stalin Ortiz tied his career-high with 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Valpo (8-7, 3-0 Mid-Con) defeat Chicago State 80-48 for its 19th straight win at the ARC. Joaquim Gomes scored 11 and Raitis Grafs added 10.
Chicago State (3-14, 0-4 Mid-Con) got off to an early lead, but Valpo was able to keep things close and take a 27-24 lead at the half. Ortiz led Valpo scorers at the break with nine points, but it was the Cougars' Rubeen Perry who had the game-high at the break. Perry had 12 points on six-of-seven shooting and finished the game with 17.
The Crusaders and the Cougars opened the second half much like the first, and Valpo had a four-point lead with a little under 16 minutes remaining. Valpo then took over and went on a 13-4 run to lead 48-35 with 11:36 left to play.
Then with the score 55-40 with eight minutes to go, Valpo put another run together and outscored the Cougars 26-8 the rest of the way. During the second half, Valpo was able to hold the Cougars to just 32 percent shooting (36 percent for the game). The Cougars were also limited to 18 percent shooting from three-point range.
It was the total opposite for the Crusaders as they shot 68 percent from the field in the second half (57 percent for the game) and 62 percent (8-13) from beyond the arc (47 percent for the game). Ortiz scored 16 of his points in the second half, draining nine of 11 shots overall (2 of 3 from three-point range) and Gomes scored nine of his points in the half as well.
Valpo finished with 22 assists, five from Greg Tonagel and four from Ali Berdiel, who also added six points. Grafs and Gomes both grabbed six of Valpo's 40 rebounds. The Crusaders also forced the Cougars to turn the ball over 18 times.
Valpo will be on the road the next two games, defending its lead in the Mid-Con. On Thursday, the Crusaders will play at IUPUI at 6 p.m. CST (7 p.m. EST) and on Saturday at Oakland at 5 p.m. CST (6 p.m. EST.