Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Wins Shootout Against UIC
Ryan Broekhoff went for 18 points and nine rebounds Monday. (Ray Acevedo)
Ryan Broekhoff went for 18 points and nine rebounds Monday. (Ray Acevedo)

Monday, February 08, 2010

A relatively low-scoring tied game at halftime turned into a shootout in the second half Monday evening at the ARC, with Valparaiso taking the lead for good with 13 minutes to go en route to an 83-82 victory over UIC in Horizon League action.  The win is the Crusaders’ seventh in the last nine games.

“It’s tough coming in to a third game in five days, almost an NBA-like schedule, especially after two emotional, close games that we played on Thursday against Wright State and Saturday against Detroit,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.  “I thought we were lackluster tonight, but we found a way to win, which is the sign of a good team.  Our guys answered every call in the last three minutes.”

The first half saw the Crusaders run out to a 12-4 lead seven minutes in before UIC responded with a 15-2 run to go up 19-14 with six minutes to play in the opening stanza.  Valpo, which scored just 20 points in the game’s first 16+ minutes, closed the half with 11 points in the final 3:20, including seven by Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North), to head into the break tied at 31.

The offensive slugfest commenced immediately coming out of halftime, as UIC hit six of its first nine shots from the field to start the half while the Crusaders connected on nine of their first ten.  A fast-break dunk by Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) gave Valpo a four-point edge at 48-44 with 14:47 remaining, but the Flames responded with a quick 7-2 spurt, capped by a Robo Kreps 3-pointer, to take a 51-50 advantage with 13:38 left on the clock.

That would be the Flames’ final lead, however, as Matt Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville) found Little for a layup on Valpo’s next possession to reclaim the lead for good.  Little’s layup started a nine-point Crusader spurt, as Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East [Iowa State]) got a putback bucket, followed two possessions later by a Ryan Broekhoff (Frankston, Victoria, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport) triple out of a timeout.  On the next offensive trip, Broekhoff skied over everybody to tip-in a Crusader miss, pushing Valpo’s edge to 59-51 with 10:57 to play.

While the Crusaders would not lose the lead the rest of the way, UIC refused to go away, as a K.C. Robbins jumper with 5:49 to play brought the Flames back to within three points.  Spencer Stewart connected on a pair of free throws just over a minute later to again slash the lead to three points, but Broekhoff responded with his fourth triple of the night, kicking off six straight points by Valpo that pushed the lead back up to 75-66 with 3:19 to go.

The Flames scored 11 of the next 15 points, however, as Stewart hit a pair from the charity stripe with 56 seconds to play to cut the lead to two points.  McPherson calmly drilled four straight free throws down the stretch to keep pushing the lead back to two possessions, as UIC never had the ball with a chance to tie the game in the final minute.

“I thought [McPherson]’s play down the stretch was crucial,” said Drew.  “Not just stepping up and hitting all four of his free throws in the final minute, but his defense on Kreps on the next-to-last possession, staying in front of him and forcing him into a tough shot that he missed.”

Broekhoff and Brandon Wood (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo [Highland C.C./Southern Illinois]) tied for team-high honors Monday with 18 points, while the former also pulled down nine rebounds.  McPherson added 15 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Johnson chipped in 11 points before fouling out.  Valpo shot at a 55.6% (30-of-54) clip for the game, including 40% (10-of-25) from behind the arc, but also committed 18 turnovers on the night.

UIC (6-18, 2-12 Horizon) was paced by Jeremy Buttell’s double-double, as the senior posted game highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds.  Kreps scored 17 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists, while three other Flames posted double figures in the scoring column.

Valparaiso (13-13, 8-6 Horizon) got to the .500 mark overall for the first time this season with the victory and also moved into sole possession of fifth place in the league standings.  The Crusaders’ fight for an upper-division finish continues Thursday night, as a stretch of five games in ten days rolls on at Cleveland State.  Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. CST, and as always, all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso; WLPR, 89.1 FM, Lowell) 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.

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 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo 2 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24 #21/21 Notre Dame 7
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
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
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
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo