A 20-point, eight-rebound performance by freshman Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]) paved the way for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team to notch an 80-58 home victory over SIUE on Wednesday evening at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Valpo held the Cougars to 11.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc en route to the victory.
How It Happened
- Defense reigned supreme for both teams in the early stages of the game, as both squads had trouble finding the well. Valpo inched out to a 4-0 lead in the first 2:17, then neither team scored for over four minutes.
- The Cougars got on the board for the first time nearly seven minutes into the game. The offense picked up slightly on both sides and Valpo led 11-8 midway through the half.
- Valpo embarked on a 12-0 spurt that featured an Edwards’ triple at the 7:42 mark, forcing an SIUE timeout and widening the lead to 13. A moment later, a second-chance basket by Donovan Clay (Alton, Ill. / Alton) increased the cushion to 15 and capped the 12-point run.
- The Cougars chipped the lead down to five at 27-22 with 1:54 left in the half, but Valpo scored the final six points prior to the break, including four by Goodnews Kpegeol (St. Paul, Minn. / North [Southwest Mississippi CC / Kansas State]).
- The two teams combined to go 2-for-23 from 3-point distance in the first half with each side knocking down one triple in a half where points on the perimeter were hard to come by. Edwards went a perfect 3-for-3 from the field in the opening half and owned a team-high eight points at the intermission.
- Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) scored Valpo’s first six points of the second half, and later Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) buried back-to-back triples to lift the lead to 47-34 with 15:18 to go.
- Edwards scored consecutive buckets midway through the second stanza, first slamming home an alleyoop dunk from Daniel Sackey (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada / Thornlea), then draining a triple on another Sackey assist to balloon the lead to 20 at 61-41 with 11:36 to play.
- Valpo cruised the rest of the way, leading by as many as 28 in an eventual 22-point win.
Inside the Game
- This marked the second straight game a Valpo freshman finished with 20 points, as Jacob Ognacevic (Sheboygan, Wis. / Sheboygan Area Lutheran) did so against Judson on Sunday followed by Edwards’ effort on Wednesday night.
- Edwards was two rebounds shy of a double-double and his eight matched Eron Gordon’s (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Seton Hall]) total from the game at Vanderbilt for the team’s highest this season.
- Sackey handed out eight assists, the most by any Valpo player in a game this season. The junior point guard finished with his highest assist total since notching nine dimes on Dec. 18, 2019 at High Point.
- Sackey had four steals, matching a career high for the fifth time in his Valpo career. It was his second four-steal game of the year (at Vanderbilt).
- Gordon and Kpegeol chipped in 10 points apiece, with Kpegeol’s coming on 4-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes off the bench.
- Valpo is off to a 2-0 start at home for the 14th consecutive season. The Brown & Gold are 28-0 in the first two home games of a season since Nov. 27, 2006.
- Valpo has won five straight home games dating back to last season, all by 12 points or more. The team had also notched seven consecutive nonconference home victories dating back to Dec. 17, 2018 vs. Ball State.
- Valpo held the Cougars to just 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from 3, the team’s best showing in terms of 3-point defense since Drake went 2-of-20 (10 percent) on Jan. 11, 2020 at the ARC.
Valpo (2-3) will head to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to clash with Central Michigan on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the Valpo Sports Network via the TuneIn Radio app. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.