The 1,000th win in the combined coaching careers of the Drew family came with ease Saturday afternoon, and appropriate on Homer Drew Court at the ARC, as the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team defeated Missouri State, 74-45, to improve to 10-2 on the season.
The patriarch of the Drew family, Homer Drew, closed his coaching career with 640 career victories. Entering Baylor’s Saturday night game, current Baylor and former Valpo head coach Scott Drew owns 256 career wins, while Bryce Drew earned his 104th victory at the helm of the Valpo program on Saturday. The Drew family ranks third in Division I history (coaches who’ve spent the majority of their career at the D-I level) in combined head coaching victories, trailing only the Ibas and the Suttons.
The Crusaders took the lead for good just 3:25 into Saturday afternoon’s contest with the Bears, behind the combined early exploits of senior Keith Carter (Maywood, Ill./Proviso East [Saint Louis]) and junior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington). Carter and Peters combined for 20 of Valpo’s first 22 points over the first 13-plus minutes, hitting four 3-pointers in that stretch as Valpo led 22-13 with 6:49 left in the first half.
Missouri State would close to within five points, and was trailing only 26-19 with 2:35 to play in the opening period, but just as they did last time out, the Crusaders used a quick long-range barrage to extend the lead just before the break. Junior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) hit a second-chance triple to extend the lead to double figures, and following a miss, senior Darien Walker (Chicago, Ill./Simeon [John A. Logan/Arizona Western]) knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back trips. Valpo eventually took a 35-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.
A quick start to the second half erased any chance of a comeback from the Bears. Peters drilled a 3-pointer on Valpo’s first possession to key a quick 9-2 spurt over the first 1:53 of the half, extending the lead to 19 points. The lead reached 20 points on a Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) 3-pointer with 17:07 to play and never fell under 19 points the rest of the way, reaching an apex of 31 points en route to the easy win.
Peters picked up his third double-double of the year to lead the Crusaders in Saturday’s win, posting 19 points and 10 rebounds. Tevonn Walker returned to the floor after missing Valpo’s last four games and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and six rebounds. Carter knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as well in an eight-point, seven-assist performance as the Crusaders finished the game 12-of-29 from beyond the arc. Valpo enjoyed a 48-33 edge on the glass over Missouri State, including 17 offensive rebounds.
The Crusader defense, which has been strong all season long, was on another level Saturday afternoon to hold down the Bears. Missouri State (4-7) shot just 32.1% (17-of-53) from the field and connected on just one 3-point attempt. Valpo also forced 15 turnovers by the Bears in posting the team’s best single-game defensive efficiency since a win at Cleveland State on Feb. 9, 2012. Dequon Miller was the only MSU player to finish in double figures, posting 12 points but doing so on just 4-of-12 shooting.
Valparaiso (10-2) will break for Christmas before returning to the court Monday, December 28 at Belmont. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., and all the action can be heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and seen on ESPN3.com. Links for the live video, audio and stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.