Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Roll to Second Straight Victory
Brandon Wood paced Valpo Tuesday with 26 points. (Sabrina Short)
Brandon Wood paced Valpo Tuesday with 26 points. (Sabrina Short)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Valparaiso continued its preseason foreign tour in Cancun, Mexico Tuesday evening with another decisive victory, downing Pioneros de Cancun by a 118-59 count. Brandon Wood (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo [Highland C.C./Southern Illinois]) paced the Crusaders Tuesday with 26 points.

“I was really pleased with our effort tonight, especially playing in back-to-back games,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew. “We let Bryce serve as the head coach tonight, assisted by Luke, Chris and Jake, while I went up to the top of the arena and just watched, trying to get a big picture of our spacing on offense and our rotation on defense. Those were two areas we wanted to improve in, and it let me get the bigger picture of how we were doing in those areas while giving the younger coaches the chance to coach.”

The Crusaders got off to a quick start against Pioneros de Cancun, the junior club of professional side Pioneros de Quintana Roo, who Valpo will face on Thursday. Right off the opening tip, Kevin Van Wijk (Hoofddorp, Netherlands/Katholeike Scholengemeenschap Hoofddorp) got the ball to Matt Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville) for a game-opening dunk. Kenney then followed up with a tip-in on the offensive end for a quick 4-0 start.

A runner by Jay Harris (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East) and a 3-pointer from Wood pushed the lead to 9-3 before Valpo went on a 21-10 spurt, keyed by steals from Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) and Erik Buggs (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) and a drive off a block by Cameron Witt (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia/Launceston), to end the first quarter with a 30-13 edge.

Pioneros de Cancun remained within striking distance for much of the second quarter before another mini-spurt, this time of the 17-10 variety, pushed the Crusaders to a 59-33 halftime edge. Little led the run with three assists, while Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East [Iowa State]) and Michael Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) both came up with key rebounds during the stretch.

Valpo held Pioneros without a field goal over the final 2:02 of the second quarter, and an alley-oop from Harris to Kenney capped the Crusaders' dominant first-half performance. Valparaiso cruised from there, ending the game with the 59-point advantage.

Five players scored in double figures for the Crusaders, paced by Wood's 26 points. Johnson added 20 points, while Kenney went for 17 points. Rogers finished in double digits for the second straight game with 11 points, while Witt rounded out the quintet of double-figure performers with 10 points.

“Our defense was really key for us tonight, coming up with a number of turnovers,” said Drew. “The effort was really led by pressure up top from Erik, Howard, Matt, Jay and Brandon and it helped us convert turnovers into offensive chances. Our biggest thing so far is that we haven't been challenged yet by size, and that's what we're expecting to change over the next two days. We're really looking forward to seeing over the next two games how we handle players bigger than we are."

For the second straight night, Valpo shared the ball well as a team, ending up with 23 assists as a squad on Tuesday. Little led the way with seven helpers, while Harris added five assists and Tommy Kurth (Osceola, Ind./Penn) four assists. All 13 players played for the Crusaders Tuesday, including Van Wijk, who started, and Witt, both of whom sat out Monday to rest nagging injuries.

“We're very pleased with Kevin in our lineup, he gives us a great amount of energy in the post,” said Drew. “We're still trying to get him back to where he can play without discomfort, and we're actually rehabbing both him and Cameron tonight. Cam really shot the ball well tonight and was a big presence on defense with three blocks, while Kevin was very aggressive, went to the boards hard and ignited our fast break with a number of good outlet passes.”

Valparaiso continues its four-game preseason foreign tour with a rematch Wednesday night against Rebotera de Cancun, which the Crusaders beat by a healthy 119-54 margin on Monday. It is expected to be a different Rebotera squad on the court Wednesday, however, as a number of additional players have arrived in preparation for the upcoming Mexican season. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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