Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) enjoyed a perfect 10-for-10 night from the field as Valparaiso defeated Indiana Wesleyan Saturday night at the ARC, 83-65, in the Crusaders' first exhibition game of the season.
Igbavboa, who played just 24 minutes due to foul trouble, hit seven of his ten shots in the first half. He would end the game with 24 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots. Joining Igbavboa in the low post was Crusader newcomer Calum MacLeod (Wellington, New Zealand/Hutt Valley [Northeastern J.C.]), who poured in 21 points, including 17 in the second half, and pulled down seven rebounds in his Crusader debut.
The game was tight throughout the first half, as Valpo could never get the margin above eight points. A Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) 3-pointer gave the Crusaders a 38-31 halftime advantage.
The Crusaders got the advantage to double digits for the first time on an Igbavboa 3-point play with 18:44 to go, but the Wildcats answered right back with a 11-2 run to pull back within one point. Coming out of the ensuing media timeout, Valpo responded with a 10-0 run of its own, highlighted by an Igbavboa fast break dunk and 3-pointers from Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) and MacLeod.
Indiana Wesleyan got a basket on its next possession to briefly cut the lead to 55-46, but Samuel Haanpaa (Kerava, Finland/Cornerstone [Texas] Christian) came right back with a 3-pointer to make it a 12-point game, and the Crusaders' lead would remain in double digits the rest of the way.
Igbavboa and MacLeod were the only Valpo players to finish in double digits, with the next highest scorer being Loyd, with eight points. Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) enjoyed a solid all-around game after earning the start, recording five points, eight assists, and four steals.
Indiana Wesleyan, coached by former Crusader guard Greg Tonagel, placed three players in double figures, paced by 15 from DeJovaun Sawyer-Davis. Sawyer-Davis also pulled down ten rebounds for the game's only double-double. Valpo High graduate Jon Moon added 14 points, while Antonio Murrell chipped in 13 points and seven assists.
The Crusaders hit an even 50% of their shots for the game, going 28-of-56 from the field, versus 21-of-58 (36.2%) for Indiana Wesleyan. Valpo hit just 5-of-16 shots from behind the arc, but hit 22 free throws on 31 attempts. Both teams had trouble holding on to the ball, committing 21 turnovers apiece, with the Wildcats holding a 16-15 edge in points off turnovers. The Crusaders enjoyed significant edges in points in the paint (38-22) and fast break points (14-0).
Valparaiso returns home for its final exhibition game Monday night, as the Crusaders host Trinity Christian. The 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.