Valparaiso, Ind. - Four Valpo players scored in double-figures, but the Crusaders lost to Loyola 76-69 to conclude a five-game homestand. Kikas Gomes led Valpo with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Dan Oppland added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Paul McMillan led three Loyola players in double-figures with 23 points.
Gomes, who has recorded three straight double-doubles, has averaged 18.0 points and 11.7 rebounds over the last three games. Oppland has two straight double-doubles and has averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds over the last three contests.
Ali Berdiel tallied 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Ron Howard netted 13 points for Valpo (2-5). Terrance Whiters scored 15 points and DaJuan Gouard added 12 for the Ramblers (2-1).
Loyola led by six points in the first two minutes and continued to lead until Berdiel made a layup to tie the game at 16-16 with 13:32 left in the first half. The Crusaders took their only lead of the game (20-18) at the 11:51 mark on Kenny Harris' layup.
McMillan scored nine points over the next five minutes and Loyola took a 39-35 lead into intermission after Gouard drained a 3-pointer with :22 remaining.
In the second half, the Ramblers picked up where they left off, outscoring Valpo 7-2 as McMillan scored five points during the stretch. Loyola extended its advantage to 12 until the Crusaders went on a 14-6 run to pull within 61-57 with 6:36 remaining. Gomes scored six points, Howard had five and Oppland added three during the run.
McMillan scored four points during an 8-0 run to expand the Loyola lead to 69-57 with 3:32 remaining. Valpo closed its deficit to five points (71-66) on Berdiel's 3-point play, but Loyola responded by converting three of four free throws to push its lead to 74-66 with :37 left. Berdiel's 3-pointer cut Loyola's lead to 74-69 with :30 remaining.
The Crusaders were hurt by miscues as Loyola outscored Valpo 21-13 in points off turnovers. Valpo made 20 turnovers to 18 for the Ramblers. The free throw line was a struggle for both teams as Valpo made 15 of 27 (56 percent) to Loyola's 21 of 39 (54 percent). Loyola shot 43 percent overall (26-60) to Valpo's 37 percent (26-70). Neither team was effective from 3-point territory as the Crusaders made 2 of 20 to the Ramblers 3 of 14.
Oppland had three of Valpo's 11 steals and Gomes blocked two shots.
Following final exams and Christmas, Valpo's next game is Dec. 28 against Louisiana-Lafayette at 2:45 p.m. CST at the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tucson, Arizona.