Senior Ryan Broekhoff (Frankston, Victoria, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport) made a career-high seven three pointers and tallied his third straight double-double as the Valparaiso men's basketball team defeated Milwaukee, 76-52, at the Klotsche Center Saturday evening. The Crusaders have now won six of their last seven games, including three straight on the road.
Broekhoff’s 26-point, 10-rebound effort paced the Crusaders, who never trailed en route to a double-digit victory.
“This is a rare thing for a Milwaukee-Valpo basketball game, cause it usually always comes down to the last possession,” head coach Bryce Drew said. “We know Rob Jeter teams are always very physical, they play very well. This was one of our superior games of the year.”
Three other Crusaders reached double figures on the afternoon – Matt Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville) scored 11 points and grabbed five boards while Kevin Van Wijk (Hoofddorp, Netherlands/Katholieke Scholengemeenschap Hoofddorp) scored 12 points and LaVonte Dority (Chicago, Ill./Foreman [South Florida]) added 10 points off the bench.
The Crusaders possessed the lead just four seconds into the game after Broekhoff nailed the first of his seven triples. The three-pointer sparked a 12-2 run that gave the Crusaders a double-digit lead just shy of the first media timeout.
The Panthers struggled to get open shots, particularly in the first half. The Crusaders defense limited the Panthers to 29 percent shooting in the first half and a mere 34 percent for the game.
Despite the cold shooting, the Panthers trailed by just five points with 4:19 remaining in the first half. Up 21-16, Will Bogan (Boise, Idaho/Vallivue [Ole Miss]) drained a three to send the Crusaders on 12-4 run to close the half.
The second half scoring commenced in familiar fashion with Broekhoff knocking down another trey. Erik Buggs’ (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) transition layup capped an 8-0 Crusaders run to start the final 20 minutes. The run forced a Milwaukee timeout as the Crusaders opened up their largest lead at 41-20.
Vashil Fernandez (Kingston, Jamaica/Princeton Day [Md.] Academy) threw down a second-half dunk following a nice backdoor feed from Dority. The slam put the Crusaders up 43-23 with 15:26 to play.
The Crusaders continued distancing themselves in the second half. A Bogan three-pointer with 6:59 remaining helped the Crusaders claim the game’s largest advantage at 64-38. The senior guard finished with eight points in a game that featured scoring from nine different Crusaders.
“I thought we shot the ball from three extremely well,” Drew said of his team’s 39 percent effort from three. “Especially during stretches later in the first half and to start the second.”
The Panthers saw three players reach double digits, including their leading scorer, Paris Gulley, who contributed 18 points and five caroms. Demetrius Harris added 14 points and Jordan Aaron finished with 10.
Easy shots were hard to come by as the Crusaders controlled the paint, outscoring the Panthers 32-24. Valpo also collected eight blocks, including three apiece for Broekhoff and Kenney.
Broekhoff’s seven 3-pointers marked a new career high, surpassing his previous best of six triples which he contributed on three different occasions, the most recent of which came against Cleveland State on Feb. 9 of last season. Against the Panthers, Broekhoff converted his first five three-point attempts.
Valparaiso (13-5, 3-1 Horizon) returns to action next Thursday with a road game against Detroit. The game will be shown nationally on ESPNU. As always, the contest can be heard on the Valpo Sports Radio Network, with links for live audio, video and stats available at ValpoAthletics.com.