Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) can play basketball, that much was clear on Tuesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Appearing in his first game since Jan. 24, 2020, rust appeared minimal as King posted 19 points, five rebounds and four assists while shooting 9-of-13 to help the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team down East-West 101-58. King was the top story, about that there was little doubt, but the game featured a strong team effort that saw eight players score seven points or more and 10 score at least six en route to a fourth win in five games.
How It Happened
- What proved to be a fun night at the ARC got off to a shaky start as the Beacons were down 5-0 early and didn’t score for nearly three full minutes to begin the contest. Trevor Anderson (Stevens Point, Wis. / SPASH [Wisconsin]) finally knocked the lid off the rim with a 3-pointer at the 17:03 mark, but Valpo trailed 7-3 five minutes into the game.
- King’s first basket in a Valpo uniform was a dunk with 15 minutes on the clock, then Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]) gave Valpo its first lead at 8-7 with a 3 on a Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) assist at the 14:18 mark, an advantage that the Beacons would not relinquish for the remainder of the evening.
- That spurred a big Valpo burst that included a Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) dunk with 12:14 remaining in the half. Edwards added a layup with 10:19 on the clock, capping a 16-0 run that transformed a 7-3 deficit into a 19-7 lead.
- Edwards stretched the cushion to 14 with a dunk at the 8:44 mark, but the Phantoms cut the gap back to single figures at 25-17 with 6:32 to go in the half.
- Valpo put together an 18-2 spurt and eventually went into halftime up 43-21. There was a stretch where Krikke took over, scoring 12 straight Valpo points and 12 of the 14 points scored by the two teams during that stretch.
- Anderson and Krikke both hits 3s early in the second half, and King continued to put on a show on both ends. He threw down his second dunk of the night with 13:22 on the clock to extend the lead to 30.
- Trey Woodyard (London, Ohio / International Sports Academy), Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn. / Hopkins [Wisconsin]) and DeAveiro all turned in quality second-half minutes, and Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) drilled a pair of late 3s to the delight of the Beacon bench.
- Hedstrom buried a 3 with 5:20 to go, then walk-on Luke Morrill (Lombard, Ill. / Montini Catholic) got in on the 3-point act with a trey at the 3:47 mark to up Valpo’s lead to 50. Morrill made another from beyond the arc with 1:36 to go, then Hedstrom’s layup with 18 seconds remaining helped the Beacons surpass the century mark.
Inside the Game
- Krikke turned in a game-high 21 points on an efficient 10-of-13 shooting in 18 minutes of action. He recorded his fourth 20-point output of the season in just seven games. He led the team in scoring for the fourth time in his seven outings.
- Valpo hit the century mark for the second time this season after posting 106 points on Nov. 27 vs. Trinity Christian. Tuesday’s 43-point margin of victory marked Valpo’s largest since beating Concordia University Chicago by 56 (121-65) on Nov. 6, 2018.
- The Beacons shot 60.6 percent (43-of-71), their first time shooting at least 60 percent since shooting right at that threshold (33-of-55) on Dec. 12, 2018 vs. UC Riverside. Tuesday marked the team’s top shooting percentage since hitting at a 65.2 percent clip on Nov. 6, 2018 vs. Concordia Chicago.
- Thomas Kithier (Macomb, Mich. / Clarkston [Michigan State]) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, his fourth game this season with at least seven and sixth with at least six.
- DeAveiro dished out eight assists, his second game with eight helpers this season. He became the first Missouri Valley Conference player with two eight-assist games this season and now owns half of the four eight-helper performances by MVC players this year.
- Hedstrom converted all four of his field-goal attempts, equaling a career best with nine points, a mark he previously reached on Nov. 27 of this season vs. Trinity Christian. Woodyard also chipped in a career-high nine points on 4-of-6 shooting while securing five caroms, also a personal watermark.
- Pappas had his first career made field goal, while Morrill hit his first and second career 3s on his way to a personal-best six points.
- Taylor made the 100th start of his collegiate career.
- Anderson handed out his 100th career assist.
- Valpo picked up its fourth win in the last five games and improved to 5-2 since an 0-3 start that came without their leading returning scorer as Krikke was sidelined by an injury.
Postgame Press Conference
Click here for postgame press conference.
Valpo (5-5) will look to climb above .500 for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon as Charlotte comes to the ARC for a noon tip on ESPN+. The theme is Gold Out as students are encouraged to wear gold from head to toe. The first 1,000 fans will receive a gold rush t-shirt. For ticket information, visit valpoathletics.com/tickets.