The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team led at halftime Sunday evening against #25/rv Oregon in Eugene, Ore. and still led with 10 minutes, but a six-minute scoring drought doomed the Crusaders as the Ducks pulled ahead by double figures and held off Valpo down the stretch, 73-67.
Valpo went into the half up by two points at 35-33 thanks to a banked-in 3-pointer right before the halftime buzzer by sophomore Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College), capping a 12-point half for the sophomore. The Crusaders and Ducks then went blow-for-blow at the start of the second half, with a 3-point play by senior Keith Carter (Maywood, Ill./Proviso East [Saint Louis]) followed by a 4-point play from junior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) giving Valpo a 44-41 lead with 15:25 to go.
Two minutes later, another Peters triple pushed the Crusader advantage to four points, but the Ducks would hit 3-pointers on two of their next three trips to tie the game at 49-all with 12:19 remaining. Junior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) drove for a layup with 11:07 to play, and after a tip-in by Oregon’s Dillon Brooks, junior Jubril Adekoya (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) hit a fadeaway jumper in the lane to make it 53-51 Crusaders at the 10:18 mark.
But Valpo would go scoreless for nearly six minutes, committing five turnovers over the stretch while also missing a pair of shots. Meanwhile, Oregon scored 12 points over the same span – including six from Brooks - to pull ahead by double figures for the first time at 63-53 with the clock under five minutes to play.
Valpo had a rally left in it, however, as senior Darien Walker (Chicago, Ill./Simeon [John A. Logan/Arizona Western]) and Adekoya hit back-to-back triples to snap the scoreless skid. A 3-pointer by Carter at the 2:11 mark cut Oregon’s lead to 69-64, and the Crusaders would play defense on the next two possessions, forcing two misses by the Ducks.
Unable to capitalize on the offensive end, however, Valpo was forced to foul, but had an opening when Oregon’s Chris Boucher missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Carter came down and hit Darien Walker for a triple off the miss, bringing the Crusaders within two points at 69-67 with 31 seconds to go. But Oregon hit a pair of free throws, and Valpo missed a pair of looks from long range that would have made it a one-point game.
Four Crusaders finished in double figures in scoring, led by 14 points from Tevonn Walker. Peters scored 13 points, while Darien Walker finished with 11 points and three steals. Hammink added 10 points off the bench to go with four assists, and Adekoya chipped in nine points off the bench as well. Carter finished with eight points and seven rebounds, while senior Vashil Fernandez (Kingston, Jamaica/Princeton Day [Md.] Academy) blocked four shots.
Brooks led Oregon (4-0) with 26 points and 13 rebounds – eight of which came on the offensive end. Tyler Dorsey scored 21 points as well for the Ducks.
Valparaiso (5-1) closes out its swing through Oregon’s Pac-12 teams on Tuesday night, as the Crusaders play at Oregon State at 8 p.m. CT. The game can be seen live on the Pac-12 Networks and heard on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso), with links for the live audio and stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.