Valpo Rolls Past IPFW; Crusaders Clinch Share of Mid-Con Title By Virtue of Saturday's Results
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Valparaiso, Ind. - Valpo made 57 percent of its shots in the first half and defeated IPFW 83-61 in a non-conference game. Dan Oppland led the Crusaders (14-12) with 18 points, while Kenny Harris added 15 and Ali Berdiel tallied 10. Twelve Crusaders scored in the contest.

David Simon topped the Mastodons (3-24) with 18 points.

By virtue of losses by Centenary and IUPUI, Valpo clinched a share of its ninth Mid-Continent Conference title - all in the last 10 years. The Crusaders (10-5 Mid-Con) can clinch the outright title and the #1 seed in the Mid-Con Tournament (March 7-9 in Kansas City) by defeating Chicago State Tuesday in Valparaiso. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m.

After IPFW took a 2-1 lead with 17:48 left in the first half, Oppland scored two baskets to ignite a 7-0 run. Valpo outscored IPFW 24-12 to extend its lead to 32-14 with 6:35 remaining.

The Crusaders drained 16 of 28 shots in the first half - including 5 of 6 from 3-point range - to secure a 43-23 halftime advantage. Harris topped Valpo with nine first-half points, while Oppland added eight.

Oppland and Roberto Nieves netted five points as Valpo outscored the Mastodons 10-6 to expand the lead to 24 points (53-29) with 16:13 left. IPFW could get no closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

Valpo finished shooting 49 percent (31-63), including 9 of 14 (64 percent) from 3-point range. The Crusaders limited IPFW to 36 percent shooting (22-62), including 17 percent (2-12) from beyond the arc.

Jimmie Miles dished out six of Valpo's 21 assists.

Before the game, seniors Kikas Gomes and Nieves were honored as part of Senior Night ceremonies.