Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusader Season Ends Monday Night in Tulsa

Monday, March 06, 2006

The top-seeded Oral Roberts Golden Eagles defended their hometown and advanced to the Mid-Continent Conference Championship Game with a 77-58 win over Valpo Monday night at John Q. Hammons Arena in Tulsa, Okla. The loss concludes the Crusaders' 2005-06 season.

The Brown and Gold started the game strong, forcing a pair of Golden Eagle turnovers in the first three minutes and opening a 7-0 lead when Jimmie Miles (Country Club Hills, Ill./Rich Central) drained a three-pointer from the corner. But Oral Roberts answered right back on back-to-back triples from Ken Tutt and Larry Owens, and took a five point lead minutes later when Owens converted a three-point play in transition.

Unfortunately, that was only the start of a big Golden Eagle run. Ken Tutt capped a 20-4 spurt with an 18-footer that put the hosts up 28-14 with 7:46 left in the first half. Oral Roberts remained up double-figures much of the rest of the period, before the Crusaders found a little burst of their own.

Freshman Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) threw in two driving layups, and the Golden Eagle lead was down to four, 32-28, with 1:45 remaining. The Crusaders went into the locker room back only five, 35-30, closing the half on a 16-7 run.

Mohamed Kone (Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre) led Valpo with nine points and six boards in the first half, while Dan Oppland (Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) added eight. The Crusaders were within five despite shooting only 40.0% and turning it over eight times. Oral Roberts was on fire from the floor, shooting 51.7% and knocking down 3-of-5 three-pointers despite several late misses, but turned were dominated on the glass, surrendering nine offensive rebounds for Valpo, leading to 10 second chance points.

The teams went back-and-forth early in the second half, with the Crusaders twice getting within four, but unable to shrink the lead further. By the midway point of the second half, Oral Roberts had chipped the lead back up to 11 on a three-point play from Green.

The Golden Eagle lead would get as big as 16 points in the final ten minutes of the game, and when Jonathan Bluitt drained a contested three-pointer from the left wing with 6:30 left, the Crusaders' fate was sealed.

Kone and Oppland, two of Valpo's six seniors, led the way for the Brown and Gold with 18 points apiece. Kone also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, posting his seventh double-double of the season. As for Oppland, the Saint Louis native ends is career with 1,780 points, third most in Crusader history, and 782 rebounds, also third all-time at Valpo.

The Crusaders shot 38.2% from the floor and made only 2-of-18 three-pointers on the night. But perhaps the biggest factor was in turnovers, where Oral Roberts converted 16 turnovers into 26 points, while Valpo scored only two points off eight Golden Eagle giveaways.

Green led Oral Roberts (20-11) with 23 points, one of four players in double-figures for the victors. ORU shot 50.8% from the field and won despite being out-rebounded 38-29. The Golden Eagles will face the winner of Monday's IUPUI-Chicago State game at 6:00 p.m. to determine the conference champion and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Crusaders (17-12) end the season over .500 for the 15th time in the last 16 years. Monday marked the final Valpo game for seniors Oppland, Kone, Ron Howard (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), Seth Colclasure (Decatur, Ind./Bellmont), Ali Berdiel (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Andrean) and Jim Hooper (San Diego, Calif./Lutheran). All six played in Monday's game.

box score
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay