Valparaiso, Ind. - Dan Oppland's running jumper with 20 seconds left gave Valpo a one-point lead and Ali Berdiel made a key steal with six seconds remaining as Valpo staged a late comeback to defeat Huntington College 73-69 in an exhibition game. Oppland led the Crusaders with 23 points and nine rebounds.
The Crusaders, who trailed for most of the game, tied the game at 66-66 with 1:35 left on a short jumper by Kenny Harris. On Huntington's next possession, Valpo's Jimmie Miles made a steal and drove the length of the court for the go-ahead layup with 1:14 remaining.
Huntington's Alex Kock, who led the Foresters with 19 points and 11 rebounds, swished a 3-pointer from the left baseline with 40 seconds remaining before Oppland drained his go-ahead bucket. Berdiel, who scored 11 and dished out five assists, stripped the ball from Adam Bontreger on the next possession and made one of two free throws. Berdiel rebounded his miss and fed the ball to Oppland who was fouled with three seconds left. The 6'8" junior then put the game out of reach by sinking two free throws.
After leading 4-0 to start the game, Valpo was forced to withstand a 12-0 run by Huntington, which is ranked 3rd nationally in NAIA. The Foresters, led by nine first-half points from Steve Snider and Kock, led by as many as 13 (33-20) with 4:36 left before halftime. Huntington shot 56 percent from the floor (15-27) in the first 20 minutes. Oppland scored five and Harris added four in the final 4:24 to pull the Crusaders within 39-33 at the intermission.
Valpo began the second half with 7-1 run, tying the contest at 40-40 with 17:02 remaining. Oppland's jumper gave Valpo a brief 44-42 advantage before Huntington held as much as a five-point lead with 4:57 left.
Oppland's three-point play trimmed the Huntington lead to 64-62 with 4:37 left and the Crusaders tied the game at 66-66 on Harris' jumper.
The Crusaders made 47 percent (14-30) of their field goal attempts in the second half after a 37 percent in the first half.
Overall, Valpo made 21 of 28 free throws (75 percent) to 16 of 20 for the Foresters (80 percent). Huntington shot 44 percent overall (24-54) to 42 percent (24-57) for Valpo. The Crusaders outrebounded Huntington 36-33.
Miles added 10 points and three assists, while Harris scored nine points and tied Oppland with a team-high nine rebounds.
Doug Sheckler tallied 15 points and Snider added 14 for Huntington.
Valpo will host Wisconsin-River Falls in an exhibition next Saturday (Nov. 13) at 7:05 p.m.