Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders' Season Ends in First Round of Horizon League Championship at Wright State
De'Andre Haskins scored 13 first-half points to keep Valpo in the game. (Ray Acevedo)
De'Andre Haskins scored 13 first-half points to keep Valpo in the game. (Ray Acevedo)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Valparaiso rallied from a 12-point deficit to take the lead for the first time early in the second half, but Wright State responded with a 14-0 run to take back the lead for good, as the Raiders went on to defeat the Crusaders, 68-56, in the first round of the Horizon League Championship Tuesday evening in Dayton, Ohio.

“You have to credit Wright State tonight,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.  “They played their trademark defense and were very physical and made scoring points difficult on us.”

Wright State wasted no time taking the early advantage, as Todd Brown knocked down a jumper and a 3-pointer in its first three possessions.  A free throw by Will Graham and a triple by Troy Tabler followed, and when Cory Cooperwood took advantage of a second-chance layup 3:33 into the game, the Raiders already led 11-0.

Valpo got on the board just over four and a half minutes in when Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) connected on a free throw, but the Crusaders would still trail by 11 at 17-6 with under nine minutes to play in the first half.  A 3-pointer by Igbavboa sparked a 7-0 spurt, however, as De’Andre Haskins (Long Beach, Calif./La Lumiere [Ind.] School) canned a triple and Igbavboa added another free throw to cut the deficit to 17-13 with 5:57 to go in the half.

The Raiders scored the next five points to extend the lead back to nine points with less than four minutes remaining in the opening stanza, and scored seven more points in the half’s final four minutes.  But Haskins single-handedly kept Valpo in the game at the offensive end, knocking down two 3-pointers, a long jumper and a tip-in in the final four-minute segment of the half.  The freshman ended the first half with 13 points to keep the Crusaders within 29-23 at the break.

“We were a little concerned when Wright State got ahead by 11, but knew we had come back from bigger deficits this year,” said Drew.  “De’Andre really did a great job in the first half as a spark off the bench, coming in and hitting some big shots for us.”

Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) got Valpo to within four points with a second-chance layup to open the second half, but three free throws put Wright State ahead by seven with 18 minutes to play.  The Crusaders got another mini-run at that point, as Igbavboa found Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) for a 3-pointer and then Michael Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) for a jumper to cut the lead to two.  After a Wright State miss, Diebler came down and nailed another 3-pointer to give Valpo its first lead at 33-32 with 16:23 to play.

But out of a timeout, the Raiders went on an extended 14-0 run to take back the lead.  Cooper Land led the way with five points during the run, while Scott Grote scored four of his team-best 19 points during the spurt.  N’Gai Evans’ triple capped the four and a half minute run, extending the Wright State edge to 46-33 with 11:47 to play.

Another mini-spurt brought the Crusaders right back into the game, however.  Little started it with a layup off a feed from Cameron Witt (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia/Launceston), and after a WSU turnover, Igbavboa sliced through the lane for a dunk from Diebler.  Rogers and Igbavboa would each knock down a pair of free throws as well, with the latter’s bringing Valpo within 46-41 with 8:33 remaining.

That was as close as the Crusaders would get, though, as the Raiders held off Valpo down the stretch.  Wright State did most of its damage in the waning minutes at the free throw line, as Todd Brown’s 3-pointer with 6:22 left was its last field goal of the game.  The Raiders connected on 19-of-22 free throws in the final eight minutes to keep the Crusaders at bay.

“Wright State was just great in the last few minutes at the free throw line,” said Drew.  “We just could not get back within 4-6 points, because they stepped up and knocked down two almost every time.”

Valpo was led by 14 points apiece from Diebler, who connected on four triples, and Rogers, who scored all of his 14 points in the final 20 minutes.  Haskins added 13 points of his own, while Igbavboa scored nine points while also registering five rebounds and five assists.

Grote paced all players with his 19 points, going 11-of-13 at the free throw line as Wright State (19-12) shot 80.6% (25-of-31) from the charity stripe as a team.  Land connected on all six of his shot attempts for 15 points, while Brown scored 16 of his own.

With the loss, the Crusaders close their season at 9-22.  The loss also ends the careers of seniors Diebler and Igbavboa.  Diebler closes his four-year career as Valpo’s Division I record-holder for most consecutive starts (98) and is among Valpo’s top-ten all-time in steals and top-20 in assists.  Igbavboa finishes his four years as the Crusaders’ 20th-leading scorer and fifth-leading rebounder all-time.

“I am so proud to have coached these two senior leaders,” said Drew on Diebler and Igbavboa.  “You can see with their tears tonight how much playing basketball with the rest of these guys has meant to them.  They just are great players on the court and even better leaders and people off the court.  It’s been my privilege to get to be with these two men the last four years.”
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo