The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team outscored Toledo by 11 after halftime, but a slow start was too much to overcome in a season-opening 85-70 setback at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio. The play of Quinton Green (Columbus, Ohio / Homeschool [Cedarville]) in his Beacon debut was a major bright spot as he drilled five 3s en route to a team-high 20 points.
Valpo shot 68 percent after halftime in a game against a team that won 47 games over the last two seasons, captured back-to-back Mid-American Conference regular-season titles and boasted four returning starters.
How It Happened
- Green and Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) each had early baskets as Toledo held a slim 6-4 edge 2:30 in. That’s when the Rockets scored the next 15 points to sprint out to a 17-point lead at 21-4 with 11:56 left in the first half before Green tallied a bucket to stem the tide.
- By halftime, the hosts’ lead had reached 26 at 52-26. Toledo shot 52.6 percent in the first 20 minutes, while Valpo was held to 32.4 percent and committed nine turnovers.
- The Beacons started the second half with a 6-1 spurt that included baskets by Jerome Palm (Almere, Netherlands / Echnaton [Hillsborough CC]), Nick Edwards (Atlanta, Ga. / Grayson [Glenville State]) and King. The Edwards bucket came on a fastbreak following a steal.
- Green had a big second half, including a trey despite being fouled that cut the lead to 20 with 5:40 remaining. He went to the free-throw line and completed the 4-point play to whittle the lead to 19. A Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) hook shot a moment later reduced the lead to 17 at 78-61.
- Krikke, King and Green all played well down the stretch, with King’s basket with 1:07 to go cutting the deficit to 15, the closest Valpo came after halftime.
- The Beacons outscored the Rockets 44-33 in the second stanza. After an uncharacteristic first half, Krikke returned to form after the break by scoring 13 second-half points on 6-of-7 shooting. As a team, Valpo shot lights out in the second half (19-of-28, 67.9 percent), scoring 26 points in the paint while also hitting at a 4-of-7 clip from 3.
Inside the Game
- Krikke pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, his first double-figure output on the glass since a career-high 15 on Jan. 24, 2021 at Illinois State. The rebounds came as part of Krikke’s second career double-double as he finished with 18 points, 13 of which came after halftime.
- Green also scored 13 second-half points on 4-of-6 shooting, as the former Cedarville standout posted a team-high 20 points in his Valpo debut. His five triples tied a career high that he reached twice during his four-year career with the Yellow Jackets, most recently on Feb. 3, 2022.
- This marked the 18th 20-point output of Green’s collegiate career. Green was the first Valpo player with five 3s in a game since Sheldon Edwards on Feb. 16 of last season vs. Loyola.
- King finished with 15 points, marking the 25th double-figure scoring output of his collegiate career and his 20th at Valpo.
- Edwards had eight points on an efficient 4-of-6 shooting to go along with a team-high five assists.
- Edwards, Green, Palm and Cam Palesse (Waukesha, Wis. / Waukesha West) all made their Valpo debuts on Monday. The Beacons played without four scholarship players as Ibra Bayu, Maximus Nelson, Preston Ruedinger (Oshkosh, Wis. / Lourdes Academy) and Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) were all sidelined. Only two players – Darius DeAviero (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) and Emil Freese-Vilien (Copenhagen, Denmark / Falkonergardens Gymnasium)– played in both last season’s opener vs. Toledo and this year’s lidlifter against the Rockets.
- Toledo, ranked No. 4 in the CollegeInsiders.com Mid-Major Preseason Poll, won 112 games over the last five years (28th most in the country) and 47 over the last two years (18th most in the country). They are now 30-3 in their last 33 home games and have won 12 straight home openers.
- The Rockets are receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the AP Top 25.
Valpo (0-1) will welcome Western Michigan to the Athletics-Recreation Center for a 4 p.m. tipoff on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ with links to live video, audio and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.