November 27, 20191st2ndFinal
Trinity Christian343771
Stats at a GlanceTrinValpo
FG Percentage.455 (30-66) .543 (38-70)
3P FG Percentage.273 (6-22) .345 (10-29)
FT Percentage1.000 (5-5) .632 (12-19)
Offensive Rebounds711
Defensive Rebounds2529
Total Rebounds3240
Bench Points1443
PointsPennington - 17
Krikke - 18
ReboundsPennington - 5
DeYoung - 5
Shannon - 5
Clay - 8
AssistsPennington - 5
Decker - 5
Morgan - 5
StealsDecker - 3
Morgan - 4
BlocksDecker - 2
Morgan - 1
Clay - 1
Freshmen Thrive in Rout of Trinity Christian
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Freshmen Thrive in Rout of Trinity Christian
Donovan Clay made seven of his 11 shots to finish with 16 points on Wednesday.

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball players had their mental focus put to the test on Wednesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center, taking the court after a late-night return that capped a full Tuesday of travel back from the U.S. Virgin Islands. Head coach Matt Lottich’s team passed that test with flying colors, dispatching visiting Trinity Christian College 98-71 with five players finishing in double figures and the team handing out 29 assists.

How It Happened

  • Valpo (5-3) faced an early 7-2 hole after the Trolls (5-6) ran off seven points in a row. However, Javon Freeman-Liberty (Chicago, Ill. / Whitney Young) tied it at nine with a triple at the 16:38 mark, then had a steal and a score to put Valpo in front 11-9. The hosts wouldn’t relinquish the lead the rest of the way.
  • Just before halftime, Valpo made a nice run that helped turn the lead into a comfortable one at the break. The Brown & Gold scored eight straight, all by the freshman duo of Donovan Clay (Alton, Ill. / Alton) and Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place), to turn a 40-32 lead with 4:35 left in the half to a 48-32 cushion by the 2:16 mark. The edge was 48-34 at the half.
  • The lead continued to grow as Valpo scored six straight early in the second half. Freeman-Liberty pushed the edge to 19 with a 3-pointer at the 16:50 mark, and later Krikke had a steal and fast-break layup that upped the margin to 23.
  • After Krikke completed a three-point play with 4:38 remaining to make it 88-64, walk-ons Brock Pappas (Valparaiso, Ind. / Washington Township) and Luke Morrill (Lombard, Ill. / Montini Catholic) made their Valpo debuts. Morrill later made a pair of free throws and converted a layup for his first collegiate points and basket, respectively.

Inside the Game

  • Valpo handed out 29 assists on 38 made baskets, led by Zion Morgan (Chicago, Ill. / Kenwood [Wabash Valley/UNLV]) with five. It was the team’s highest assist total since also dishing out 29 on Nov. 12, 2010. The Valpo record for assists in a game is 36 on Nov. 28, 2005 vs. IU South Bend.
  • Three freshmen were among the five Valpo players in double figures with Krikke (18), Clay (16) and Lorange (11) all setting career highs in scoring. In fact, a fourth freshman hit a career watermark as Emil Freese-Vilien (Copenhagen, Denmark / Falkonergardens Gymnasium) chipped in four points.
  • Six newcomers established career highs in scoring as the rookie quartet was joined by transfers Morgan (7) and Eron Gordon (10). Technically, Morrill was a seventh newcomer with a career high in scoring as he finished with four points in his debut.
  • Valpo shot a season-best 54.3 percent, the team’s top mark since shooting 56.3 percent last season against Purdue Northwest.
  • Clay also hit a rebounding career high with eight to lead the team, while John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind. / Noblesville) squeezed five boards. Five Valpo players had four or more assists.
  • Valpo used its speed and athleticism to dominate the transition battle, outscoring the Trolls 33-2 on fast breaks.  

Up Next

Valpo will enjoy a few days off for Thanksgiving before beginning preparation for Tuesday’s game at Eastern Michigan, which begins at 6 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN3.