A cold-shooting night doomed the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team in quarterfinal action at the Horizon League Championship Saturday evening in Detroit, Mich., as the Crusaders’ last-second 3-point attempt was off the mark and they fell victim to an upset-minded Milwaukee squad, 43-41.
How It Happened
- It was a super-slow start to the game for the Crusaders, who were just 1-of-10 from the floor – a 3-pointer by senior Nick Davidson (Munster, Ind./Andrean) – with six turnovers in the opening 12 minutes. But Milwaukee scored just nine points in that same time frame.
- Valpo scored five straight on a 3-pointer from junior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) and a jumper by junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) to close within one, but could not get over the hump in the first half.
- A driving layup from freshman Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) brought the Crusaders within 16-12 at the break.
- Valpo fought to overcome the halftime deficit, and finally took the lead for the first time with 10:46 to play on a layup from freshman John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville).
- Milwaukee scored the next eight points over a stretch of 3:30, however, to earn its largest lead at seven points, and following a Cody Wichmann 3-pointer with 3:59 to play, the Panthers led 41-35.
- Valpo scored the next five points – all from the foul line – to close to within 41-40 with the clock ticking under one minute to play. The Panthers got a mid-range jumper on their next possession by Brock Stull to push the lead to 43-40 with 43 seconds to go.
- Walker had a pair of open 3-point looks on Valpo’s next possession both rattle in and out, but Kiser was fouled going for the second rebound. The freshman split a pair at the line, and the Crusaders fouled Wichmann with 7.5 seconds to go.
- Wichmann missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Valpo came down with the rebound and rushed it up the floor. Joseph’s potential game-winning 3-point attempt was off the mark, however, as the Panthers completed the upset.
Inside the Game
- Valpo’s 12 first-half points were its fewest in a first half since scoring 12 first-half points in a loss at UMKC on Jan. 3, 2000.
- The Crusaders’ 41 points scored were their fewest since a 56-41 loss at Missouri on Nov. 16, 2014.
- The game featured just 53 possessions – the second slowest-paced game since the start of the 2001-02 season (52 possessions vs. Columbia – March 18, 2014).
- Valpo shot just 31.9% from the floor for the game and were just 4-for-19 from 3-point range and 7-for-15 from the foul line. Meanwhile, Milwaukee (10-23) shot only 32% and was just 5-of-20 from the 3-point line.
- Walker and Kiser tied for team-high honors with eight points – the latter doing so on 3-for-4 shooting from the field.
- Kiser, who made his first career start on Saturday, also set a new career best with seven rebounds.
- Joseph paced the Crusaders on the glass with nine boards as Valpo out-rebounded the Panthers, 42-31.
- Wichmann led Milwaukee with 11 points, but was just 3-for-13 from the field.
The Crusaders (24-8) will wait to see if their name is called for a postseason tournament.