The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team never trailed Saturday night in earning its 10th win in the last 11 games, fighting off a game Youngstown State squad in the second half to earn an 82-72 victory at the ARC. The Crusaders maintained their two-game lead in the Horizon League standings with the victory.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders got out to a quick start Saturday, shooting out to a 14-4 lead just over four minutes into the game. Senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) scored six points during the spurt, while senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) and junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) each knocked down an early 3-pointer as well.
- The lead fluctuated between six and 10 points for most of the next few minutes, until a 3-pointer from Cameron Morse cut the advantage to 24-19 with 7:26 remaining in the half.
- Valpo would answer with the next seven points, as Walker and Hammink both finished at the basket and junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist) connected on a 3-pointer.
- The Crusaders pushed the lead to 14 points multiple times late in the first half, but eventually entered the locker room with just a 43-33 lead at the break as Morse connected from nearly 30 feet at the buzzer.
- Valpo’s lead reached its apex with 14:26 to play on another 3-pointer by Walker, giving the Crusaders a 56-41 advantage.
- Over the next six minutes, the Penguins out-scored the Crusaders, 14-2, to make it a one-possession game. Valpo went 0-for-6 from the field during the stretch.
- YSU pulled as close as it had been since the opening minute on a 3-pointer by Morse with 6:23 remaining, cutting the lead to 65-64. But out of a Penguin timeout, the Crusaders ran a set play which delivered a wide open triple from Peters.
- Peters’ 3-pointer sparked a 9-0 spurt over the next 3:12, as the Crusader defense forced misses by the Penguins on their next six field goal attempts. The run was capped by a spectacular Hammink dunk on the break while being fouled for a 3-point play, and YSU would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- With the win, Valpo secured no worse than a fifth-place finish in the final Horizon League standings – the program’s ninth finish in the top half of the league in 10 seasons as a league member.
- Hammink led the Crusaders in the scoring column for the second straight game, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting while also pulling down seven rebounds. It was the senior’s eighth 20-plus point scoring effort of the year.
- Hammink also came up with a pair of steals while not committing any turnovers of his own.
- Despite being limited to nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Peters finished with 22 points and seven rebounds.
- Peters has now scored 601 points this year, just the sixth season in Crusader history of 600-plus points scored by a single player. Both Peters and Bryce Drew own two such seasons.
- Peters also moved up a spot on Valpo’s single-season rebounding chart as well, as he now sits in ninth place with 279 boards this year – just two shy of eighth position.
- With Peters limited in the first half, Walker and Williams did a lot of their damage. Walker scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half and added six rebounds as well, while Williams scored 10 of his 11 points in the opening 20 minutes.
- Williams finished in double figures in the scoring column for just the fourth time this season and the first time in Horizon League play – the junior last scored in double figures in the win at Missouri State.
- Freshman Jaume Sorolla (Tortosa, Spain/Sunrise Christian [Kan.] Academy) chipped in eight points, four rebounds and three blocked shots off the bench.
- The Crusaders hit six of their 11 3-pointer attempts in the first half and ended the game hitting at a 42.1% clip from 3-point range.
- Morse finished with 25 points on 7-of-20 shooting to lead Youngstown State (10-17, 4-10 Horizon). The Penguins hit at just a 34.8% clip from the floor.
The Crusaders (21-5, 11-2 Horizon) look to avenge one of their two league losses this year next Friday night when they start the Michigan road swing with a nationally-televised game at Oakland. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. CT, live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. As always, the game can also be heard live on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.