Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) registered a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, and Valparaiso used its best shooting performance of the season to defeat Chicago State Monday night in Chicago, Ill., 91-76.
The Crusaders hit 33 of their 49 attempts from the field for a .673 shooting percentage, over 100 points better than their next-best effort this year. Igbavboa hit seven of his nine field goal attempts on his way to the first triple-double for Valpo in at least eight seasons. Valpo also set season highs for points scored and assists (27).
Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne), fresh off of being named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week, set a new career high with 25 points, hitting nine of his 13 shots from the field, including three 3-pointers. The junior had 16 of his points after halftime, and led Valpo on a key run early in the second half.
The Cougars had cut the Valpo lead to one at 49-48 on a pair of free throws with 14:59 to play, but Huff came right back with a fast break layup off of a steal by Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North). On the Crusaders' next possession, McPherson found Huff open in the corner for a 3-pointer to extend the lead to six points.
Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) took a feed from Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) after the media timeout to make it an eight-point game, and Huff hit baskets on each of Valpo's next two possessions, extending the margin to 60-48. The Crusaders kept the lead at double digits until the 4:36 mark, when Royce Parran, who led all scorers with 33 points, and Walter Woghiren hit back-to-back triples to cut the lead to seven. But Huff answered with a conventional 3-point play to put the lead back into double digits and secure the victory.
Valpo gained a 23-12 edge eight minutes into the ballgame, but after the two squads traded a couple of baskets, the Cougars went on a quick 10-0 spurt to tie the game at 28. The Crusaders answered behind four points apiece from Huff and Igbavboa to go along with a Samuel Haanpaa (Kerava, Finland/Cornerstone [Texas] Christian) triple to go up 39-28 late in the half, but CSU hit two buckets in the final minute to cut the halftime margin to 39-33.
Haanpaa added 17 points for Valpo, hitting four of his five 3-point attempts, while McPherson chipped in 13 points to go along with six assists against just two turnovers. Diebler added nine points and five assists, a career-high.
John Cantrell was the only other Cougar in double figures, scoring 13 points. Valpo held CSU leading scorer David Holston to just eight points on 2-of-7 shooting. Aaron Williams came off the bench to lead Chicago State (8-19) with eight rebounds.
Valpo connected at an amazing 76.9% (20-of-26) clip from the field in the second stanza to reach 67.3% for the game. The Crusaders hit 10-of-18 (55.6%) shots from behind the arc, and 15-of-20 (75.0%) from the foul line. Chicago State hit 50% (8-of-16) from 3-point range and 43.9% (25-of-57) overall.
Valparaiso (13-11), winners of three straight and seven of its last eight, returns to Mid-Con action Thursday, taking on IUPUI in Indianapolis. Opening tip is set for 6 p.m. Central time, and all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.