The Crusaders snapped their four-game losing streak in style, downing the Centenary Gents 99-73 Thursday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Seth Colclasure
(Decatur, Ind./Bellmont) and Dan Oppland
(Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) each had 23 points to pace Valpo's potent attack.
Colclasure's 23-point night came courtesy of some fantastic shooting, hitting 7-of-8 shots from the field including 5-of-6 three-pointers, and making all four of his free throw attempts. Oppland's 23 marked the 27th straight game he's scored in double-figures, and moved him past the 1,600 point mark for his career, only the fifth player in Valpo history ever to reach that milestone.
After an Oppland free throw for the game's first points, Centenary went on a 7-0 run before an 18-3 burst gave the hosts a 22-12 lead they would not relinquish. Valpo's run was sparked by two unlikely catalysts, freshmen Jake Diebler
(Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) and Brandon McPherson
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North). The duo combined for three points, two assists and two rebounds during the spurt and provided energy on the floor that swung the momentum back to the Crusaders.
The Valpo lead grew to 15 midway through the half before the Gents closed the period with a push to narrow the halftime deficit to 41-32. Oppland led Valpo with 12 in the first half, while Chris Watson kept Centenary close with a half-high 13 points.
Early in the second half, with Valpo's lead down to six, the freshmen were reinserted and the Crusaders rattled off five quick points, and when Colclasure made a layup with 13:04 left, the Brown and Gold had built a 63-45 lead. The margin hit 20 with 12:08 left, and Valpo led by at least 20 the rest of the night, pushing the advantage to 30 late in the game.
The Brown and Gold absolutely owned the glass, out-rebounding the Gents 43-24, including a 20-7 edge offensively. Valpo had 25 second chance points, and took advantage of 18 Centenary turnovers, converting them into 34 points. On the flip side, the Crusaders turned the ball over only nine times, three in the second half, after giving the ball away 38 times in their previous two games. The Brown and Gold also had 21 assists, the third straight game they have dished out 20-plus helpers.
(Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre) was the third of four Crusaders in double-figures, posting his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Ron Howard
(Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) had 10 points, all in the second half, on 4-of-8 shooting. Diebler set career-highs in minutes (15) points (5), rebounds (5) and assists (3), while McPherson had two points, a career-high five rebounds, and three assists. Neither of the freshmen committed a turnover in 34 combined minutes. Valpo shot 51.4% from the floor and 44.0% from the three-point arc.
Watson led Centenary (4-17, 2-9 Mid-Con) with 17 points, one of three Gents in double-figures. Centenary out-shot Valpo, making 52.7% of their field goals and an impressive 12-of-21 three-pointers. Clarke Jackson hit 4-of-5 threes for 12 points.
Valpo (12-8, 5-5 Mid-Con) is back at the Athletics-Recreation Center Saturday to take on Southern Utah at 7:05 p.m. That game can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics beginning at 6:50 p.m.