Valparaiso, Ind. - Raitis Grafs led four Crusaders in double-figures with 17 points and Joaquim Gomes recorded a double-double as Valpo defeated International Select 73-62 in an exhibition game. International Select is comprised of former NCAA Division I players.
Gomes, a junior forward, added 15 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Dan Oppland tallied 12 points and eight rebounds. Valpo's starting backcourt of sophomore Ali Berdiel and senior Greg Tonagel displayed complete games as Berdiel finished with 10 points, four rebounds and five assists, and Tonagel had eight points, six assists, six rebounds and three steals. Valpo dominated the glass, outrebounding International Select 53-33. Grafs and Oppland each grabbed eight rebounds for the Crusaders.
Mike King, who starred at Illinois-Chicago, led International Select with 18 points and six rebounds. Charles Macon, who played at Central Michigan, added 11 points. Milo Stovall, who was a member of four Mid-Continent Conference Championship teams at Valpo from 1998-02, scored four points for International Select.
The Crusaders held the lead for most of the game and led by 13 (49-36) on Oppland's layup with 15:35 left. International Select went on a 7-0 run behind five points by Macon to pull within 58-53 with 7:21 left. Grafs scored five points as Valpo responded with a 9-2 run to lead 67-55 with 4:20 remaining. International Select could get no closer than 67-58 the rest of the way.
Valpo, after trailing by four in the first nine minutes, took the lead for good with an 18-0 run in the first half. Oppland's layup gave the Crusaders the lead (15-13) for good with 11:18 remaining in the half. The scoring explosion included two, 3-pointers by freshman Seth Colclasure and five points by Grafs, including a 3-pointer.
After shooting 48 percent in the first half, Valpo finished with a .439 percentage (29-66 overall). Valpo made 50 percent (7-14) from 3-point range and made eight of 12 free throws.
Another key to the win was Valpo's defense as International Select shot 37 percent (25-68) overall, including 24 percent (8-33) from 3-point territory. The Crusaders played without seniors Stalin Ortiz and Phil Wille who were out with injuries.
Valpo hosts Sports Tours next Saturday (Nov. 9) in an exhibition at 7:05 p.m.