A poor shooting night hampered the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team’s effort Friday night at the ARC in Horizon League play against Oakland, as the Crusaders fell to the Golden Grizzlies by a 78-66 final.
How It Happened
- Oakland jumped out to a quick start by making 3-pointers on its first two possessions, and the Golden Grizzlies never trailed on the night.
- Valpo would tie the score seven times in the first half, but could never get over the hump to take the lead. Most notably, after a nine-point spurt by the Golden Grizzlies gave them a nine-point lead just over seven minutes into the game, Valpo responded with nine straight points – five from Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) and four from Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) – to even the game again.
- Junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist) connected on a 3-pointer with 5:29 to play in the half to tie the game at 28-all, but that would be the Crusaders’ final field goal of the first half. Oakland would eventually score six of the half’s final eight points to take a 38-34 lead into the break.
- The Golden Grizzlies came out of the locker room and scored on each of their first six possessions of the second half, pushing their advantage to 53-38 less than four minutes into the second period.
- Down 56-42 with 15:40 to play, the Crusaders scored the next nine points over a stretch of 3:23 – four by Peters and five from freshman Jaume Sorolla (Tortosa, Spain/Sunrise Christian [Kan.] Academy) – to pull within five points. But out of a timeout, an Oakland miss pinballed around three Crusader players and to the Grizzles’ Martez Walker, who knocked down a triple to stop the Valpo run.
- Oakland pushed its lead to 73-59 with 5:08 to play, but the Crusaders had one final push, as they scored the next seven points – capped by a 3-pointer from junior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) – to close within 73-66 with 3:27 to go. Valpo had the ball with a chance to cut further into the lead, but came up empty on three shots on one possession and could get no closer the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders shot just 36.2% from the field Friday night – their third-worst performance from the floor this year – and connected on just three 3-pointers, matching a season low. Valpo also committed 16 turnovers which Oakland converted into 18 points.
- Valpo did continue its strong effort from the foul line, going 21-of-24 (87.5%) as a team from the stripe.
- Peters led the way for the Crusaders with his sixth consecutive double-double, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The senior was 10-of-11 from the foul line, as he was limited to 5-of-12 shooting from the field and was held without a 3-pointer for the first time since the Ball State game.
- With his seventh point of the game, Peters moved past Mark Acres (Oral Roberts, 1981-85) into seventh place in Horizon League history in career scoring. His ninth free throw make of the evening moved him past Raitis Grafs for second place in Valpo history in career free throws made.
- Sorolla scored in double figures for the first time in his career in picking up his first double-double as a Crusader. The freshman finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three blocked shots.
- Martez Walker led Oakland (13-3, 3-0 Horizon) with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including four 3-pointers. Stevie Clark added 16 points and five assists as well.
The Crusaders (11-4, 1-1 Horizon) look to rebound on Sunday as they face off with Detroit Mercy on the American Sports Network. Tipoff is slated for noon, and the game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. As always, the game can also be heard on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.