Valparaiso, Ind. - Dan Oppland's putback with 29 seconds remaining in overtime gave Valparaiso (15-13) the lead for good as the Crusaders held off IPFW 74-72 Wednesday night. Oppland led four Valpo players in double figures with 21 points.
IPFW (6-21) had the ball with a chance to take the lead after the Oppland basket, but a turnover by Justin Hawkins forced the Mastodons to foul Seth Colclasure with 8 seconds left. Colclasure made one-of-two, giving IPFW a final opportunity, but an offensive foul on David Simon at the buzzer gave the Crusaders the victory.
Valpo jumped out to a quick lead in overtime, scoring the first five points on an Oppland 3-point play and a Kenny Harris jumper. The Mastodons answered with the next six points, culminating in a Byron Malone 3-pointer with 1:49 to go to give them a 70-69 lead. Out of a Crusader timeout, Jarryd Loyd hit a driving layup to give Valpo a one point lead. Simon followed with a dunk, the last of his game-high 26 points, to give IPFW a 72-71 lead with 51 seconds left.
IPFW forced overtime by coming back from five points down in the final minute of regulation. Peter Campbell hit his third 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining. After a turnover on the inbounds pass, Simon missed a layup, but Quintin Carouthers' putback tied the score at 64 with 18 seconds left. The Crusaders had the final shot in regulation, but Colclasure's three-pointer was off the mark, and Oppland's attempted tip would not fall.
Valparaiso started the game quickly, building an 6-1 lead four minutes in. After the Mastodons tied the game at 8 at the 12:33 mark, Valpo regained the lead on a Loyd triple. The Crusaders would lengthen their lead to seven with 5:02 to play in the first, but IPFW fought back to cut the lead to three, 25-22, at the half.
The Mastodons went on a fast run to start the second half, gaining a 29-27 lead with 2 minutes gone. Neither team could pull ahead by more than six in the half, which featured 10 ties and 8 lead changes. Valparaiso pulled a 10-2 run together in the middle of the second half, featuring five points from Ron Howard and ending with a Colclasure three to extend the lead to 49-45 with 8:02 remaining. IPFW tied the game at 51 with 5:51 to go, but the Crusaders answered with a 7-1 run over the next 2:30 to make it a six-point game.
Joining Oppland in double figures for Valpo were Howard with 18, Loyd with 14, and Harris with 13 points. IPFW also placed four players in twin digits as Campbell scored 13 and Carouthers and Beau Bauer added 10 apiece. Simon, Oppland, and Howard shared game-high rebounding honors with eight, and Simon added three blocked shots. Howard led both teams with five assists.
The Crusaders shot 42.1% (24-57) from the field for the game, compared to 50.9% (27-53) for the Mastodons. Valparaiso enjoyed the edge from the free throw line, hitting 23-of-31 (74.2%) to IPFW's 11-of-16 (68.8%). Valpo outrebounded IPFW 39-29, which included 15 offensive rebounds for the Crusaders.
Following the game, guard Ali Berdiel and head manager Steve Ruggles were recognized on Senior Night and each spoke to the crowd.
Valparaiso concludes its home slate with an 8-4 record. The Crusaders travel to Oral Roberts to take on the Golden Eagles Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The game will be televised live locally on WYIN-56.