Behind 34 points from junior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington), the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team led start-to-finish in defeating Indianapolis – which is ranked #8 in the nation in Division II – by a 75-67 final in exhibition action Tuesday night at the ARC.
Peters started off slow Tuesday evening, missing his first four attempts from the field, but was tremendous over the final 35 minutes, hitting 10 of his last 13 field goal attempts. The junior ended the night 10-of-17 overall from the floor, including two of four from beyond the 3-point line, and 12-of-15 from the foul line. Peters ended the first half with 15 points and then scored 19 points in 13 minutes of action in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Crusaders’ interior defense was strong over the opening 20 minutes to help stake Valpo to a lead. In fact, the Crusaders had more blocked shots in the first half – seven – than field goals allowed to the Greyhounds – six. Valpo surrendered just two baskets inside the 3-point line to UIndy in the first half as well, as the Crusaders led 39-28 at the half.
A Peters basket in the paint 11 seconds into the second half extended Valpo’s lead to 13 points, and the Crusaders still led by 12 at 54-42 with 13:54 to play on an inbounds alley-oop from sophomore Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) to senior Darien Walker (Chicago, Ill./Simeon [John A. Logan/Arizona Western). UIndy, which advanced to the D-II Sweet 16 last season, rallied however, closing to within three points at 55-52 with 9:12 remaining.
With the game a one-possession affair, Peters stepped up on Valpo’s next trip, hitting an inside basket while being fouled and completing a 3-point play to spark a 9-2 run over the next two-plus minutes to push the lead back to double figures. But the Crusaders would make just one basket from the field over the final 6:30 – a putback by junior Jubril Adekoya (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) which kept Valpo’s advantage at 10 points as the clock ticked under four minutes.
The Greyhounds would take advantage of the Crusaders’ lack of baskets from the floor down the stretch to make one final rally. A putback by Tyler Rambo with 1:11 remaining cut the Valpo lead to five points, and following a Valpo miss, Eric Davidson hit a jumper on the fast break to make it 70-67 with 34 seconds to play. Walker stepped up and hit a pair of free throws to push the lead back out to five points, though, and on the ensuing possession, UIndy called for a timeout it did not have remaining, allowing Peters to hit a technical free throw. After a UIndy miss, Peters grabbed the board and hit two more free throws for the final margin.
Peters was the only Crusader to hit double figures on Tuesday night, as Walker scored nine points to finish as Valpo’s second-leading scorer. Walker also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while Peters and senior Vashil Fernandez (Kingston, Jamaica/Princeton Day [Md.] Academy) each pulled down six boards. Fernandez tallied four of the Crusaders’ nine blocked shots.
Five UIndy players finished the night between 10 and 14 points, with Rambo and Jordan Loyd leading the way with 14 points apiece. The duo combined to shoot just 9-of-30 from the floor, however, as the Greyhounds finished the game shooting at just a 31.3% clip. Loyd registered a double-double with a game-best 11 rebounds, while Lucas Barker finished with 11 points and seven assists.
Valparaiso will open up the regular season on Friday night, November 13 as the Crusaders host IPFW at the ARC at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the game, banners commemorating the Crusaders’ Horizon League championships and NCAA Tournament appearance from last year will be unveiled and raised to the rafters. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.com and heard live on WVUR, with links for the live video, audio and stats available at ValpoAthletics.com.