Senior Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) scored 26 of his career-best 32 points after halftime and fellow senior Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) scored the Crusaders’ last seven points in the final two minutes of the second overtime period as Valparaiso defeated Miami (Ohio) at the Athletics-Recreation Center Saturday afternoon, 99-94, in double overtime. The game was broadcast live nationwide on ESPN Classic on part of the O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters event.
“What a ballgame both teams played today,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew. “I’m just really proud of our guys for how they played tonight. There were times at the end of regulation and the first overtime when our guys could have hung their heads, but instead they came back even more determined to make plays, and we made enough of them in the second overtime.”
Miami led by eight at halftime, 38-30, and extended its lead to as many as 12 points early in the second half at 44-32. Valpo rallied back, however, scoring 16 of the next 22 points to go ahead 51-50 with 9:34 to play, its first lead since 4-2 in the first half. The Crusaders pushed the advantage and had a lead of eight points with 2:45 to play at 71-63 after a Huff layup. Huff scored 17 points during the duration of 15:55 to help the Crusaders turn the 12-point deficit into an eight-point lead.
The RedHawks would not go down in regulation, though. A three-point play by Tyler Dierkers brought Miami to within five, and after a pair of free throws by Michael Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian), Kenny Hayes drained a triple to cut Valpo’s lead to 73-69 with two minutes remaining.
Tim Pollitz hit a layup on Miami’s next possession, but Huff responded with a layup of his own with 45 seconds left to keep the lead at four points. Hayes knocked down two free throws with 34 seconds remaining to cut the edge back down to two points, and following a Valpo turnover, Pollitz grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in to tie the game at 75 with 19 seconds on the clock.
The Crusaders had the ball with a chance to win in regulation, but Brandon McPherson’s (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) attempt in the lane was off the mark. Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) grabbed the board and put up a jump hook just before the buzzer that sat on the rim for a couple seconds before falling off harmlessly, sending the game to an extra session.
Valpo never trailed in the first overtime session, jumping out to a five-point lead less than a minute in on another Huff triple. Two free throws by the senior gave the Crusaders their biggest lead in the extra period of 83-77, but the RedHawks once again rallied. Hayes knocked down two free throws to cut the deficit to four points and converted a fast-break three-point play with 41 seconds to play to bring Miami within 83-82.
Igbavboa stepped up to keep Valpo in the lead, getting an offensive rebound off of his own miss with 31 seconds to play to put the Crusaders up 85-82. After a pair of free throws by Hayes once again cut the Valpo lead to one point, the junior found himself open downcourt off the second make and had an easy two-handed dunk to push the advantage back to 87-84 with 16 seconds left. But Hayes drained a deep triple with eight seconds left to knot up the game for the sixth time, and Loyd’s last-second shot would not fall, sending the Crusaders to double overtime for the first time in five seasons.
Miami took the lead on a Hayes free throw early in the second extra session, but Rogers converted a 3-point play to put Valpo ahead 90-88 with 3:51 to play. The RedHawks scored four straight points to take a 92-90 lead with 2:47 remaining, but that would be their last outright lead. Huff scored the last of his 32 points to tie the game at the 2:33 mark, and then Loyd took over.
The senior guard put the Crusaders up 94-92 with 1:54 left on a driving layup, and after Hayes tied the game for Miami, drove for another layup to make it a 96-94 ballgame with 1:24 on the clock. The RedHawks missed a triple on their next time down the court, and it was Loyd picking up the rebound. After running the shot clock nearly all the way down, he drove for yet another layup to put Valpo ahead by four points with 18 seconds to play. Another RedHawk 3-point miss was grabbed by the senior, who closed out the scoring with a free throw with eight seconds remaining.
“Shawn did a tremendous job shooting the basketball tonight for us,” said Drew. “To see him score 32 points on just 13 shots was just fun to watch, he was in a great rhythm. Jarryd came off the bench there in the second overtime and did a great job utilizing his relative freshness and using it to his advantage driving to the basket.”
Huff poured in his 32 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field, including 6-of-8 from behind the arc. Igbavboa picked up a career-high point total as well, going for 22 points and 13 rebounds, his second consecutive double-double. Loyd scored 15 points for the Crusaders, all in the second half and overtime, while Rogers added 10 points in his first career start. Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) paced the Crusaders with five assists.
Hayes led Miami (13-13) with 30 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Michael Bramos scored 23, including five 3-pointers, but scored just five points after halftime. Pollitz chipped in a double-double of his own with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
“You saw tonight a great example of what Jake brings to our team,” said Drew. “Bramos was hitting everything in the first half, and then we switched Jake onto him at halftime, and he did not score a point with Jake guarding him in our man-to-man defense the rest of the game.”
Valparaiso (15-13) jumps right back into league play on Monday with a key Horizon League tilt at Milwaukee. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m., 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; WWLO, 89.1 FM, Lowell) or online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. The game can also be viewed online through the Horizon League Network.