Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) hit his third 3-pointer with 23 seconds left to move Valparaiso into a 62-62 tie with #8/9 Marquette, but Dominic James nailed a triple of his own with 3.4 seconds to play, and Brandon McPherson's (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) last-second attempt from just inside halfcourt rimmed out to give the Golden Eagles a 65-62 victory over the Crusaders in front of a capacity crowd at the ARC.
Loyd's 3-pointer capped off an outstanding shooting night for the Crusaders, who hit 8-of-10 3-point attempts in the second half and shot at a 52.2% clip from behind the arc on the night. Loyd hit three of his four attempts, while Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) hit three out of four as well. Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) led all players with four triples on seven attempts and tied for a game-high with 22 points, which also was a new career-high. James matched Huff with 22 points and scored the last 18 points for the Golden Eagles.
Valpo used a quick 8-3 spurt out of the half to pull within two of the Golden Eagles at 34-32, but Marquette answered right back with a 6-0 spurt of its own to extend the lead back to eight at 40-32 with 15:15 to play.
The Crusaders were not done yet, using sharp shooting and the crowd energy to counter-attack the Golden Eagles. Diebler started the run with a 3-pointer, followed by a Moussa Mbaye (Dakar, Senegal/Life Center [N.J.] Academy) layup to cut the lead to 40-37 with 14:06 left. After a charge on Marquette's Jerel McNeal, one of seven charges Crusader players took on the night, Huff nailed another triple to tie the game for the first time since the opening tip.
Huff would give the Crusaders their first lead of the game with two free throws at the 12:57 mark, and then stepped up the defensive pressure, knocking the ball away from James, leading to a Loyd fast-break layup to make the score 44-40 and force Marquette head coach Tom Crean to use a timeout.
The Golden Eagles went on a 9-0 run over the next 6:23, capped by two free throws by James to give them a 49-44 lead. The two teams traded three-pointers before a dunk by Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) and a Diebler triple, both assisted by Jarryd Loyd, tied the game again at 52 with five minutes to play.
The squads traded the lead four times over the next four minutes, and two James free throws with 1:10 to play handed the lead back to the Golden Eagles at 59-57. Huff answered with a jumper from the top of the key to tie the game at 59, but James responded with a three-pointer to give Marquette a three-point edge with 40 seconds to go and set up the ending sequence.
Marquette jumped all over Valpo early in the first half, shooting out to a 13-2 lead just six minutes in and extending the lead to its largest of the game, 21-6 at the 8:19 mark. The lead remained double digits for most of the rest of the half, until the Crusaders forced Golden Eagle turnovers on three straight possessions at the end of the first stanza and used a Diebler three and a McPherson layup with six seconds to play to cut the deficit to seven at 31-24.
Loyd was the only other Crusader to finish in double digits, registering 11 points. Mbaye led the Crusaders with seven rebounds, while McPherson dished out nine assists for Valpo. Marquette placed four players in double figures, including 10 points and 13 rebounds from Ousmane Barro, his first career double-double.
Both teams ended the game evenly matched in the final stats, as Valpo shot 22-of-47 (46.8%) from the field to Marquette's 21-of-47 (44.7%). The Crusaders held a significant edge from behind the arc, but the Golden Eagles hit 17-of-22 (77.3%) free throws to just 6-of-11 (54.5%) for Valpo. Marquette held a 31-25 advantage on the glass.
Valparaiso dished out 16 assists on the game, turning the ball over 17 times, while Marquette (7-0) had just seven assists to 16 turnovers. The Golden Eagles held a slight 22-18 edge in points off turnovers, and held a 10-6 advantage in second chance points. The Crusaders got four more points from their bench, 16 as opposed to 12 for Marquette.
Valparaiso (3-2) was hosting just its second ranked opponent in the ARC in the last nine seasons, and turns around Wednesday to host another such foe in #19/18 Butler. Opening tip is set for 7:05 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Wednesday's game can also be seen live locally on Lakeshore Public Television and online as part of the Horizon League Network at www.horizonleague.org.