The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team kicked off the 2016-17 season at the ARC Saturday evening with its lone exhibition game of the year, defeating Hillsdale by a 78-63 final as senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) led the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
How It Happened
- The opening minutes of the game had little tempo, as both teams were plagued by fouls early on – both squads were in the bonus less than six minutes into the game and into the double bonus by the 12:39 mark of the first half.
- Nearing the midway point of the first half, the Crusaders trailed 15-12, but would put together a 13-1 run over a span of three minutes to claim the lead for good. Peters contributed six points during the run, which was capped by a 3-pointer from redshirt junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist).
- The Chargers chipped away at the lead and were within four points at 33-29 with less than three minutes remaining in the opening period. But Valpo put together a quick 10-2 spurt over a two-minute stretch, including another Williams triple and five points from Peters, to push the lead back into double figures – a lead which was 45-33 at intermission.
- Valpo came out of the gate strong in the second half, out-scoring Hillsdale 15-6 over the opening five minutes to go ahead by 21 points. The lead reached an apex of 23 points multiple times, and only a run over the last five minutes by the Chargers brought it back down to the mid-teens.
- Senior Jason Karys (Newton, Mass./Newton South) had a moment to remember late in the game. The three-year team manager became an active member of the roster this year as a walk-on and checked into a game for the first time with 1:22 to play. Just nine seconds later, he caught a pass, turned and fired a nearly 30-foot 3-point attempt that rattled home as the bench and the crowd erupted.
Inside the Game
- Peters paced Valpo with a typical efficient night, hitting both of his 3-point attempts and going 10-of-11 at the foul line. He also led the Crusader effort on the boards as Valpo out-rebounded Hillsdale 49-37.
- Two other Crusader starters finished the night in double figures. Senior Jubril Adekoya (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) needed just 15 minutes to go 5-of-7 from the floor in a 13-point effort, while junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) finished with 10 points and eight rebounds – five of which came on the offensive end.
- Senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) added nine points and six rebounds as well.
- Freshman Jaume Sorolla (Tortosa, Spain/Sunrise Christian [Kan.] Academy) pulled down seven rebounds in 17 minutes of action off the bench in his first game at the ARC.
- Valpo shot just 40.3% from the floor for the game and was just 6-of-21 from 3-point range, but enjoyed a strong 18-of-22 performance at the foul line.
- The Crusaders limited Hillsdale to 32.1% shooting for the game. Stedman Lowry led the Chargers with 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
The Crusaders open the regular season next Friday evening at the ARC, as they host Southern Utah for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The game can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app and heard live on the Valpo Sports Network, with links for the live video, audio and stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.
Make sure to get to the ARC early Friday evening, as prior to the game, banners commemorating Valpo’s 2015-16 Horizon League regular season title and appearance in the 2016 NIT championship game will be raised to the arena’s rafters.