The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team held defending Summit League champion South Dakota State to 26.9 percent shooting in the opening half as the game went into the locker room even, but the Jackrabbits prevailed 61-50 to open the Hostilo Community Classic in Savannah, Ga. Senior Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) produced 18 points to lead three Beacons in double figures.
How It Happened
- Valpo flipped the script on recent games away from the Athletics-Recreation Center by getting off to a strong start. Quinton Green (Columbus, Ohio / Homeschool [Cedarville]) nailed an early 3 before King and Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) added buckets to make it 7-0.
- A string of made 3s helped the Jackrabbits jump in front at 9-7.
- Freshman Maximus Nelson (Appleton, Wis. / Appleton North) stepped out for a 3 with 8:48 left in the opening period to make it 16-11.
- The Jackrabbits ran off six straight points to gain a 17-16 lead, but King had a quick response with a 3 on a Preston Ruedinger (Oshkosh, Wis. / Lourdes) assist at the 4:41 mark.
- The Beacons built the lead up to four at 23-19 with 2:26 left in the half, but South Dakota State scored the final four points of the period to go into the break deadlocked at 23.
- Valpo’s defense was swarming in the opening half, holding a strong offensive team to 27 percent shooting while forcing the Jackrabbits into eight opening-half turnovers.
- South Dakota State scored the first six points of the second half to open up a 29-23 lead, forcing a Valpo timeout at the 18:12 mark of the second half.
- King buried a 3 to trim the lead to three with 16:40 to go, then a Krikke jumper on the next Valpo possession cut the lead to one at 31-30.
- South Dakota State scored the next seven to open up an eight-point cushion at 38-30 with 14:30 to play.
- Valpo showed life as King made a pair of difficult baskets sandwiched around a successful triple by Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) to claw the Beacons to within four at 41-37.
- The Jackrabbits pushed the lead to double figures at 51-41 with 6:09 to go. Green had three late baskets including a dunk in the final minute, but SDSU still prevailed.
Inside the Game
- Valpo had no free-throw attempts, becoming the first Division-I team in the nation with no free-throw tries in a game this season. Only two Division-I teams did it all of last season – Miami (Feb. 5 at Virginia) and Merrimack (Nov. 21 at Virginia Tech).
- The last time Valpo was awarded two or fewer free-throw attempts was Nov. 25, 2011 at Ohio State (2).
- This was Valpo’s first game since at least the start of the 1989-90 season with no attempted free throws.
- On the flip side, the Jackrabbits had 15 free-throw attempts and converted 13 (86.7 percent).
- King posted a team-high 18 points. He’s been in double figures in all six games this season, including five contests with 15+ points.
- Krikke (12) and Green (10) joined King in double figures. Krikke has been in double figures in five of his six games, while Green did so for the fourth time in six outings.
- The 61 points marked the fewest Valpo has permitted this season.
- Valpo held SDSU to 26.9 percent shooting in the opening half, Valpo’s best single half in terms of field-goal percentage defense since holding Indiana State to 19.2 percent in the first half on Feb. 27, 2021.
- Krikke was a carom shy of a double-double as he paced the team with nine rebounds.
- The Beacons had a season-high 10 steals with four players swiping two each. This was Valpo’s first double-figure steal game since Dec. 22, 2021 vs. William & Mary (12).
- This was Valpo’s first halftime tie since Nov. 27, 2020, an eventual 77-71 loss at Vanderbilt.
- Valpo made two tweaks to the starting lineup as Nelson made his first collegiate start and Ruedinger made his first start of the season.
The Beacons (2-4) will continue the Hostilo Community Classic on Sunday at 11 a.m. CT as the Beacons match up with James Madison in Savannah, Ga.