Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo's Inside Play Keys Win Over Southern Utah

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Cedar City, Utah – Raitis Grafs scored 19 points, Stalin Ortiz added 18 and Kikas Gomes grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds as first-place Valpo (15-8, 9-1 Mid-Con) defeated Southern Utah 69-61. The Crusaders, winners of four straight and 10 of the last 11, dominated the boards, outrebounding the Thunderbirds 52-29. The victory was Valpo’s first in the last four games played at Southern Utah.

Valpo’s defense was a major factor, limiting Southern Utah to 36 percent shooting overall. Antti Nikkila, who grabbed eight rebounds, had four of the Crusaders’ eight blocked shots. Ali Berdiel topped Valpo with eight assists.

Grafs scored seven points in the last 4:22 to help expand a narrow Valpo lead. The Crusaders led 56-55 when Grafs made a layup, was fouled and converted the free throw to increase the lead to 59-55 with 4:22 left. Southern Utah cut its deficit to one point again (60-59) with 3:25 remaining when the 6’11” Grafs made a short jumper and two free throws to extend the lead to 64-59 at the 2:17 mark. The Thunderbirds pulled within three (64-61), but Greg Tonagel made five of six free throws in the final 44 seconds to seal the win.

After trailing 33-30 at halftime, Valpo began the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 37-33 lead with16:27 remaining. Grafs made a basket and two free throws, Gomes drained a short jumper and Berdiel converted a free throw during the stretch.

Two layups each by Nikkila and Ortiz helped Valpo increase its advantage to 47-39 with 10:31 left. Valpo still held an eight-point lead (50-42) at the 9:30 mark on Roberto Nieves’ 3-point basket before the Thunderbirds went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 52-52 with 6:60 left. David Palmer, who led Southern Utah (9-14, 4-7 Mid-Con) with 11 points, made two treys and two free throws during the rally.

In the first half, Valpo led by as many as nine points before Southern Utah outscored the Crusaders 23-11 to close out the first 20 minutes. Ortiz led all scorers in the first half with 12 points.

Valpo finished shooting 40 percent (23-57) overall and made 19 of 28 free throws (68 percent). Grafs, who grabbed nine rebounds, drained all seven of his charity tosses. Gomes and Grafs each had two blocked shots. The Thunderbirds made seven-of-20 3-point attempts to Valpo’s four-of-19.

Valpo begins its final homestand of the season Thursday against Oakland at 7:05 p.m.

W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay