Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
McPherson, Wood Key Valpo Victory Over Youngstown State
Brandon McPherson led all players with 22 points Thursday night. (Ray Acevedo)
Brandon McPherson led all players with 22 points Thursday night. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crusader guards Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) and Brandon Wood (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo [Highland C.C./Southern Illinois]) got Valparaiso off to a hot start Thursday evening and then combined to bring the Crusaders back from behind in the second half as Valpo defeated Youngstown State, 70-66, in Horizon League action at the ARC.

McPherson set a new career high with nine makes from the floor, shooting 9-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-6 effort from behind the arc to score a game-high 22 points Thursday.  The senior also came up with three steals while not committing a turnover in 32 minutes of action and is now just six points shy of the 1,000 point milestone for his career.

Meanwhile, Wood produced another solid outing in a season full of stellar performances.  The redshirt sophomore scored 13 points in the first half en route to 20 for the game, his ninth time this year scoring at least 20 points.  He also tied for team-high honors with six rebounds and matched his career best with six assists.

Wood handed out four of his assists in the opening 6:40 of the ballgame while also scoring seven points during that stretch as the Crusaders jumped out to a quick 23-11 advantage.  McPherson hit a pair of triples during the game-opening spurt, while Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East [Iowa State]) added five points during the run.  YSU scored the next seven points however, to cut the lead down to five points at 23-18.

Valpo pushed the lead back into double figures, but the Penguins answered with five straight points to move to within 33-27 with 4:51 to go in the opening half.  The Crusaders responded immediately with six straight points though, as McPherson and Johnson hit layups in halfcourt sets and Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) got out on the fast break for a layup of his own.  Valpo maintained the double-digit lead into halftime, holding a 41-29 advantage after the first 20 minutes.

“The first half, we were playing very well,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.  “[McPherson and Wood] both did a good job running the offense and hitting shots, we moved very well as a team and had great composure.”

But the Crusaders started the second half ice-cold from the floor, hitting just 1-of-13 shots from the floor over the first eight minutes of the second stanza as Youngstown State sliced its deficit to just 47-45 with 12 minutes to play.  A layup out of a timeout by Wood briefly slowed the Penguins’ momentum, but YSU would gain its first lead of the game three minutes later on a triple by Vytas Sulskis.

Another 3-pointer, this time by Vance Cooksey, gave Youngstown State a 57-54 lead with 7:55 remaining, but the pair of Brandons answered immediately.  McPherson found Wood in the corner for a triple of his own just 17 seconds later to tie things up, and on Valpo’s next possession, Ryan Broekhoff (Frankston, Victoria, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport) grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a wide-open McPherson at the top of the key for a trifecta of his own to give the Crusaders the lead for good.

The advantage was still just two points with 4:15 to play before Wood hit Johnson for a reverse layup to make it 62-58.  After the Crusaders drew an offensive foul, Wood came down and registered his final assist of the night, hitting McPherson in the corner for his fourth 3-pointer of the evening to extend the lead to seven points.  Youngstown State would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.

“You have to credit Youngstown a great deal in the second half,” said Drew.  “They slowed us up by switching defenses, and we were tentative with the ball.  Once we got in sync, however, we started moving better, cutting harder and getting good looks.  It’s a credit to our guys that they continued to play with tenacity when Youngstown took the lead.  We didn’t hang our heads and came out of tonight with a good team win.”

Johnson joined McPherson and Wood in double figures with ten points, his 15th outing reaching double figures this season.  Johnson also matched Wood and Michael Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) for team-high honors with six rebounds.

DeAndre Mays paced Youngstown State (7-9, 2-5 Horizon) with 21 points, while Sulskis scored 11 points off the bench for the Penguins.  Sirlester Martin tallied a double-double with ten points and a game-high ten rebounds.

Valparaiso (7-11, 2-4) returns to action on Saturday afternoon, hosting the HLN Game of the Week against Cleveland State at 1 p.m.  As always, the game can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso) and can be seen on the Horizon League Network.  Valpo’s athletic website, www.valpoathletics.com, will have links for live audio, video and statistics.

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 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
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