After winning its first exhibition game of the 2017-18 season with an impressive offensive output, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team turned around with a stellar defensive effort Saturday afternoon at Chicago State, limiting the Cougars to 15 second-half points as the Crusaders pulled away for a 77-42 victory. A special hurricane relief exhibition, the game raised more than $1,000 for the Lutheran World Relief organization.
How It Happened
- Chicago State held a brief early lead, but the Crusaders took the lead for good just over two minutes into the game on a putback from redshirt junior Joe Burton (Porter, Texas/Atascocita [Oklahoma State]).
- A 22-8 stretch that spanned over nine minutes extended a one-point Valpo advantage to a 30-15 lead for the Crusaders inside the 7:30 mark of the first half. Eight different Valpo players scored during the run, led by five points from freshman Parker Hazen (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City).
- Chicago State closed to within nine points late in the first half, but an old-fashioned three-point play from senior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) gave Valpo a 39-27 lead into the locker room at the half.
- The Crusaders came out strong to start the second half, scoring the first seven points of the stanza to extend their lead to 19 points.
- With the advantage sitting at 50-35 nearing the halfway mark of the second half, Valpo put the game away as it out-scored the Cougars 27-3 over a stretch of eight-plus minutes. Walker put his mark on the decisive run with nine consecutive points during the spurt.
Inside the Game
- Valpo limited Chicago State to just 24.1% (14-of-58) shooting from the floor. The Cougars were also just 3-for-20 from 3-point range.
- The Crusaders grabbed more than half of the available boards on their offensive end as part of a 54-26 overall advantage on the glass. Valpo finished with 20 offensive rebounds – led by four from Walker – while Chicago State came up with just 15 defensive boards.
- The Crusaders converted their 20 offensive rebounds into 25 second-chance points. Valpo also held a massive 44-16 advantage in points in the paint.
- Walker led the way for the Crusaders on Saturday, finishing with a double-double as he led all players with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
- Redshirt sophomore Bakari Evelyn (Detroit, Mich./Hillcrest Academy/Southfield Christian [Nebraska]) finished with 12 points and a game-high five assists, while Burton scored 10 points as well.
- Freshman Mileek McMillan (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) added eight points and six rebounds off the bench.
Valpo opens the regular season on Friday night, Nov. 10 as it hosts North Park on Military Night at the ARC for a 7 p.m. tip.