Valparaiso snapped its five-game losing streak in emphatic fashion
Tuesday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center, handling Division
III opponent North Park easily on its way to a 78-47 victory.
“I really felt like we improved again today, and it feels great to get back in the win column,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.
“Offensively, we did a great job moving the basketball and finding the
open man, and on defense, we had a lot of good ball pressure to force
turnovers which allowed us to get out and run.”
The Crusaders never trailed, taking a quick 10-2 lead into the first
media timeout on five baskets in the paint, including three layups by Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School). The Vikings got a 3-pointer from Issa Avery out of the stoppage, but Erik Buggs (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) answered with a trifecta of his own to keep the pressure on.
Both teams would go four minutes without scoring until the Crusaders got a tip-in from Benjamin Fumey
(Bremen, Germany/Freie Hansestadt) with 9:20 to go in the half to get
them going again. Valpo went on to score each of its next three
possessions, getting points in the paint from Cameron Witt (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia/Launceston), De’Andre Haskins (Long Beach, Calif./La Lumiere [Ind.] School) and Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) to take a 21-5 advantage with 7:30 remaining in the opening stanza.
The Vikings would respond with a run into Valpo, however, scoring
nine of the next 11 points over a four-minute span to cut the Crusader
advantage to 23-14. Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan)
ended the run with a layup to push the lead back to double figures,
sparking a 6-2 spurt to close the half as Valpo went into the break
with a 29-16 lead.
Coming out of the locker room, it was all Crusaders, as Valpo put
together a 10-0 run on its first four possessions of the second half.
Buggs beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer to open the scoring, and the
next time down the floor it was Little knocking down the trifecta from
On the Crusaders’ next defensive possession, Michael Rogers
(Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) came up with a steal
and started the fast break, one which Igbavboa finished on an alley-oop
from Little. A Viking foul on the floor during the shot gave
possession to Valpo out of bounds following the dunk, and the Crusaders
took advantage, as Rogers fed Igbavboa for a layup to push the lead to
41-16. North Park would get no closer than 19 points the rest of the
Four Valpo players finished in double figures, led by a career-best
16 points by Little, who also paced the Crusaders with six rebounds and
three steals. Igbavboa connected for 15 points, while Buggs and Witt
added ten points apiece. Buggs also dished out a game-high five
North Park (8-3) was led by 12 points and nine rebounds from Phil
Schniedermeier. The Vikings also received 11 points from Clayton
Valpo connected on 53.2% (33-of-62) of its shots compared to 45.0%
(18-of-40) for North Park. The Crusader defense forced 26 Viking
turnovers, which they converted into 36 points on the offensive end.
Valpo also dominated the scoring in the paint, 48-18.
“We still have room for improvement, especially with a very good
Butler team coming in here on Saturday,” said Drew. “We are excited
though to put our first season, the pre-conference schedule, behind us
and now start with the second season, the league slate.”
Valparaiso (4-9) will start the 2009 calendar year with a familiar
foe when #25/RV Butler comes to town on Saturday. The Crusaders’
most-common opponent, Butler and Valpo squared off in a classic tussle
at the ARC last season. The Bulldogs moved into the AP top-25 on
Monday, making this the third consecutive year that they have been
nationally ranked when visiting Valpo.
Game time on Saturday is set for 7:05 p.m., and as always, all the
action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1
FM, Valparaiso; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan
City; WWLO, 89.1 FM, Lowell) and online at www.valpoathletics.com
The game is also the first of seven Crusader men’s games being
broadcast live this season on Lakeshore Public Television. Live video
and statistics will also be available at www.valpoathletics.com