Shooting woes continued to plague the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team Thursday night in Eugene, Ore., and this time it resulted in the Crusaders’ first loss of the season, as Valpo fell by a 76-54 final at #4/4 Oregon. Late in the game, senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) moved into a tie for second place in program history on the career scoring chart with 1,785 career points.
How It Happened
- Early on, a pair of deep jumpers – including a 3-pointer – from redshirt junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist) gave Valpo the lead. The Crusaders would extend the advantage to as many as four points at 14-10 following an 18-foot jumper by Peters.
- Valpo would connect on just three field goal attempts over the next nine minutes, however, as Oregon claimed the lead for good. Leading by two, the Ducks scored seven straight points before a bucket from junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) – his third of the first half – snapped the Oregon run with 4:33 to play in the period.
- Walker’s shot sparked a mini-spurt, as the Crusaders would score six straight points to cut the deficit to three. Valpo had the ball holding for the final shot of the first half, trailing by five points, but Peters’ 3-point attempt rattled around and out and a foul was called on the Crusaders on the rebound. The Ducks hit both free throws to take a 37-30 lead into the locker room.
- Senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) hit a pair of free throws on Valpo’s first possession of the second half to bring the Crusaders back to within five. Valpo would get no closer, however, and following a Peters tip-in which made it a 47-38 game with 14:07 to play, Oregon reeled off a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to take control.
Inside the Game
- Peters moved up two positions on Valpo’s career scoring chart in the loss. The senior surpassed Dan Oppland for third place with the first of two free throws with 7:34 to play, and then matched Tracy Gipson at 1,785 career points for second position with his final basket – a 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining.
- Peters paced Valpo with 24 points on 8-of-18 shooting, but hit just two of his eight 3-point attempts.
- Peters was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, leading the way as the Crusaders finished the night at 100% from the stripe, going 14-of-14. It was the most free throws made without a miss by a Valpo team since at least 1994.
- Walker returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games due to injury, finishing with 12 points and six rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
- Valpo continued to struggle shooting the basketball, finishing the game 18-of-56 (32.1%) from the field and just 4-for-21 (19%) from 3-point range. The second half saw the Crusaders shoot just 23.3% overall.
- A 3-pointer on the final offensive possession by freshman Micah Bradford (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) accounted for the Crusaders’ only bench points on the night, as they were out-scored in that category 18-3.
- Oregon (2-1) was led by 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting, nine rebounds and three blocked shots by Chris Boucher. The Ducks out-scored the Crusaders in the paint, 40-16.
- Ranked fourth nationally, Oregon was Valpo’s highest-ranked opponent since the Crusaders traveled to play third-ranked Ohio State in November of 2011.
The Crusaders (3-1) look to rebound as they travel to Las Vegas for the MGM Grand Main Event. Valpo will face off with Alabama on Monday evening at 11 p.m. CT. The game can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso), with links for live audio and live stats available via ValpoAthletics.com.