In a tie game with the clock ticking down in Springfield, Mo. Saturday night, Valparaiso University men’s basketball senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) came up with the big play, drawing a foul on a 3-point attempt with 5.6 seconds remaining and knocking down all three free throws for the final margin in the Crusaders’ 84-81 victory over Missouri State.
How It Happened
- An offensive rebound by senior Nick Davidson (Munster, Ind./Andrean) led to a pair of free throws for junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) with 2:44 to play, giving Valpo a 79-74 lead.
- Missouri State would score on each of its next two possessions to close within one point, and following an inside basket from Peters, the Bears’ Dequon Miller knocked down a mid-range jumper with 55 seconds remaining to cut the Crusader edge to 81-80.
- Following a Valpo miss, Peters grabbed the offensive rebound inside, but as he went to go back up with it, the Bears ripped the ball away and the Crusaders got called for a foul on the defensive end with 14 seconds to play.
- Missouri State’s Alize Johnson hit his first free throw attempt to tie the game, but following a Valpo timeout, Johnson missed the second and Peters grabbed the board. The senior brought the ball up himself and eventually pulled up from the arc, drawing the foul on Obediah Church with 5.6 seconds to play.
- Peters calmly drained all three free throws for the three-point advantage, and Missouri State could just get a last-second attempt that was well off the mark from Austin Ruder as the Crusaders finished out the win.
- Valpo trailed by as many as eight points early in the second half, and was still down seven at 59-52 with under 13 minutes to play. But junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist) scored eight consecutive points in just over one minute to give Valpo the lead at 60-59.
- The teams traded the lead back and forth over the next few minutes, with a 3-pointer from Walker at the 5:59 mark making it 68-67 Crusaders before Church converted a 3-point play for the Bears.
- Valpo scored seven points on its next three possessions – a mid-range jumper from Peters, an offensive rebound and putback for Williams, and a 3-point play by Peters – while the Bears turned it over twice as the Crusaders pulled ahead by five. Missouri State responded with four straight, but Valpo answered with four straight of its own – capped by Walker’s two free throws – to set up the closing stretch.
- The Crusaders got out to a quick start Saturday, with four different players scoring in the opening 2:22 as Valpo jumped out to a 10-2 lead.
- They maintained the lead through much of the half, but when Peters was forced to the bench with his second foul, Missouri State went on a 16-4 run to turn an eight-point Valpo edge into a four-point deficit. The Bears would push their lead to eight before Walker canned a 3-pointer with just seconds remaining in the first half to make it a 43-38 game at halftime.
Inside the Game
- Peters picked up his fourth double-double of the year, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting and 11 rebounds. The senior has scored at least 20 points in every game this season and now ranks 15th in Horizon League history with 1,935 career points.
- Peters also moved into third place all-time at Valpo in 3-pointers made, surpassing Lubos Barton. He has now hit 246 career triples.
- Walker posted a season high in the scoring column, connecting on four 3-pointers and going 5-of-6 from the foul line in a 21-point effort. He also added six rebounds.
- Four Valpo starters in all finished in double figures, as senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) finished with 15 points and Williams tallied 12 points to go with five rebounds and five assists.
- Davidson played 21 minutes off the bench and registered a career-high six assists without turning the ball over.
- Freshman Jaume Sorolla (Tortosa, Spain/Sunrise Christian [Kan.] Academy) earned his first career start and played a total of 28 minutes, scoring six points and pulling down three offensive rebounds.
- With two rotation players in street clothes Saturday, head coach Matt Lottich shortened his rotation to just six players in the second half. Williams, Sorolla and Peters each played the entire final 20 minutes.
- Both teams shot better than 50% for the game, with the Crusaders going 30-of-56 (53.6%) from the field and the Bears hitting 31-of-61 (50.8%). Valpo continued its strong season at the foul line by hitting 15-of-19 (78.9%) from the charity stripe, while Missouri State was just 13-of-21 (61.9%).
- Valpo out-rebounded the Bears, 35-27, and scored 15 second-chance points to Missouri State’s nine.
- Johnson led Missouri State (5-3), which suffered its first home loss of the season, with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Ronnie Rousseau III returned from injury to score 21 points as well.
The Crusaders (8-2) will take the next week away from competition while completing final exams before returning to action with the first of three straight home games at the ARC next Saturday night. Valpo will host Indiana State on the 17th at 7 p.m., and as always, all the action can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, and heard live on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for all the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.