Six Crusaders finished in double-figures and Valpo led by as much as 27 in the second half en route to an 88-72 win over IPFW Wednesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The win was the Crusaders' fifth in a row, with all five wins coming by at least 15 points.
Up 15-10 in the early stages of the game, Shawn Huff
(Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) and Ali Berdiel
(Ponce, Puerto Rico/Andrean) ratted off nine straight points to put Valpo comfortably ahead. Moments later, back-to-back three-pointers from Berdiel and Seth Colclasure
(Decatur, Ind./Bellmont) extended the Crusader lead to 19, and the advantage was 45-30 when the game reached halftime.
Valpo shot 60.0% in the first half, including 6-of-9 from three-point range, and were led by Colclasure's 11 points. The Brown and Gold forced eight Mastodon turnovers in the opening period and held IPFW to just one assist.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Crusaders put the game away, extending their lead to 62-39 seven minutes in. The Valpo lead reached its pinnacle five minutes later when a Huff triple made the score 75-48.
Every Valpo player who dressed for the game played at least four minutes, and no Crusader saw more than 26 minutes of action. Mohamed Kone
(Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre) played one of his best games of the season, shooting 4-of-5 from the floor, 5-of-6 from the free throw line and finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season. The Crusader big man, who had six turnovers when Valpo and IPFW met in late November, did not commit a turnover Wednesday night.
(Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) tied Kone for team-high honors with 13 points, his lowest point total in over a month, and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. Huff had 12 points off the bench, the third time in four games he's scored in double-figures, and Berdiel and Colclasure each finished with 11. Ron Howard
(Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) was the sixth Crusader in double-figures with 10 points and five assists.
Valpo shot a season-high 61.8% from the floor and made 9-of-15 three-pointers (60.0%). During their current five-game winning streak, the Brown and Gold are averaging 91.4 points per game, shooting 52.0% from the field and 54.0% from three-point range.
IPFW (5-12) was led by Brad Pompey, who had a game-high 17 points, and Tyler Best, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. The Mastodons were out-rebounded 32-24 by Valpo, and saw their season-long three-game winning streak snapped. IPFW finished with only six assists on 24 made baskets, but committed just 11 turnovers.
Valpo (10-4, 3-1 Mid-Con) puts their winning streak on the line Saturday night in Macomb, Ill. against Western Illinois. The game will be the Crusaders' fourth in an eight day stretch and is set to tip off at 7:05 p.m. Coverage on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics begins at 6:50. The game will not be televised on a tape-delay basis as originally scheduled.