Detroit’s Woody Payne split a pair of free throws with 2.3
seconds to play Saturday afternoon in Detroit, Mich., accounting for the final margin as Valparaiso fell to the
“I was very disappointed with
the way we played today,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew. “We took a couple steps forward the last few games, but today was a giant step backwards. We especially shot very poorly
from the free throw line (10-22, 45.5%), which is not something we can have if
we want to win games.”
Valpo took its first lead of
the second half nearly 15 minutes into the stanza, as Howard Little (Chicago,
Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) knocked down a 3-pointer and then on the
Crusaders’ next trip found Michael
Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) for another triple
to give Valpo a 49-47 edge with 5:14 to play.
Chris Hayes quickly responded with back-to-back baskets, however, to put the
Titans ahead 51-49 with 3:47 left.
The teams began trading
baskets, as Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan)
tied it up with a layup out of a timeout with 3:17 to play, but the Titans’
Michael Harrington converted an old-fashioned 3-point play around the media
timeout to give Detroit
the lead back. Erik Buggs (Memphis,
Tenn./Mitchell) got a
second-chance layup on Valpo’s next trip to cut the deficit to 54-53.
The Crusaders made a pair of
stands on the defensive end to get the ball back with a chance to take the
lead, and after missing a pair of shots, Little was fouled in the scramble for
a rebound and sent to the free throw line for a one-and-one. The sophomore stepped up and calmly drilled
both to give Valpo a 55-54 advantage.
But he was then called for a foul while attempting to take a charge on
the defensive end, sending Eulis Stephens to the line for two shots with 17
seconds to play.
Stephens hit the first, but
missed the second, and Igbavboa pulled down the rebound as the Crusaders would
seemingly be able to hold for the last shot.
But Buggs slipped and lost control on the offensive end, and Payne
swooped in for a steal with an open court ahead of him before getting fouled
with 2.3 seconds to play. He missed the
first shot, but nailed the second, and Valpo’s long inbounds attempt sailed out
The early going looked like
it would be Valpo’s day, as after giving up the first four points, the
Crusaders put together a 16-5 run to go ahead 16-9 just over ten minutes in,
led by six points during the stretch from Rogers. But poor free throw shooting curtailed
Valpo’s attempt to extend the lead any further, and the Titans took advantage,
going on a 14-1 run of their own to take a six-point lead. The halftime lead was 29-26 for Detroit, which save for one brief tie early in the second
half, held a slim lead until Little and Rogers’
back-to-back triples late in the stanza.
“The missed free throws in
the first half really cost us,” said Drew.
“We had a shot to go ahead by even more than seven points and couldn’t
take advantage, and instead of demoralizing Detroit, that gave them confidence to came
back and take the lead from us.”
Rogers led the Crusaders with 12 points, reaching double
figures for the first time in the last five games, while Little scored 11, his
sixth time hitting double figures in the last seven outings. Buggs added nine points and a game-high five
assists, while Igbavboa scored eight points, moving into a tie for 20th
all-time in Valpo history in the category, and grabbed six rebounds, tying for
eighth all-time in that category.
Hayes, who did not play in
the first meeting between the two schools, led all scorers with 20 points on
8-of-11 shooting and also led all players with nine rebounds. Harrington and Stephens each chipped in ten
points apiece for Detroit
(7-16, 2-11 Horizon).
Valparaiso (6-18, 3-10 Horizon) returns home next weekend to
continue league play in a rare Friday evening game at the ARC. The Crusaders will host Loyola at 7 p.m. on the
13th, 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) and online
. Live video and statistics
will also be available through the official Crusader website.