The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team rallied from a late seven-point deficit to tie Tuesday’s game with High Point at the ARC on a 3-pointer by Ryan Fazekas (Chesterton, Ind./Marquette Catholic [Providence]) with 19 seconds to play, but the Panthers’ Brandonn Kamga banked in an off-balance jumper with 0.8 seconds remaining to give High Point the 55-53 win.
How It Happened
- Valpo trailed 53-46 after a Jahaad Proctor basket with 2:37 to play, but would score the next seven points. Junior Bakari Evelyn (Detroit, Mich./Hillcrest Academy/Southfield Christian [Nebraska]) nailed a turnaround jumper in the paint with 2:15 to go, and freshman Javon Freeman (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) went coast-to-coast after grabbing a rebound to make it 53-50 with 1:24 remaining.
- Valpo still trailed by three with under 30 seconds to play following a miss by High Point, and opted for a quick 3-point attempt, as Evelyn set up Fazekas for the game-tying triple with 19 seconds to go.
- Following a High Point timeout, the Panthers’ first attempt at a potential game-winner was blocked by junior Jaume Sorolla (Tortosa, Spain/Sunrise Christian [Kan.] Academy) and went out of bounds to the Panthers with four seconds to play, setting up HPU’s game-winner from Kamga. Valpo’s half-court heave at the buzzer came up short.
- Valpo found itself trailing by one at 30-29 with 17:03 to play before reeling off nine straight points – six from Freeman and a 3-pointer from Fazekas – to take its largest lead at 38-30 with 14:15 to go.
- The Brown and Gold scored just two points over the next seven and a half minutes, however, as High Point’s 12-2 run put the Panthers ahead 42-40 as the clock ticked under seven minutes to play.
- Despite the long drought, four points from senior Deion Lavender (Alton, Ill./Marquette Catholic [UAB/Southern Illinois]) and an inside basket by junior Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]) had Valpo ahead 46-44 with 5:09 remaining. But Proctor scored nine straight points for HPU to give it a 53-46 lead and set up the closing sequence.
- Valpo struggled offensively in the first half, shooting just 29.2% in the opening 20 minutes, but 13 points and eight rebounds from junior Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) by halftime helped push Valpo to a slim 24-23 advantage at the break.
Inside the Game
- After shooting 60% from the floor and 50% from 3-point range in Sunday’s win, Valpo connected on just 32.7% from the field and was just 3-for-22 from the 3-point line Tuesday.
- The loss was the first regular season defeat at home for Valpo this season after winning each of its first three home games of the year.
- Smits recorded his second double-double of the season, pacing Valpo with 14 points and leading all players with 12 rebounds.
- All five Valpo starters scored at least eight points, but Smits was the only Valpo player to score in double figures.
- Freeman pulled down a season-high seven rebounds, while Lavender tallied six rebounds and dished out four assists without committing a turnover.
Valpo (5-4) heads east to Washington, D.C. to take on George Washington Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT. The game can be seen live on ESPN+.