The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team had Murray State on the ropes, but the host Racers found a way to improve to 26-2 at home over the last two seasons by pulling out a 77-76 overtime win at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky. Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) poured in a game-high 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting for a short-handed Valpo squad that played without starter Quinton Green due to an injury.
How It Happened
- Murray State scored the first basket of the game on a 3-pointer, but Valpo scored the next nine and grabbed a lead that the Beacons would maintain for much of the first half.
- The Racers had the lead down to three, but Valpo built the edge back up to nine at 20-11 on a Krikke basket at the 11:42 mark that forced a Murray State timeout.
- Valpo got a stop coming out of the timeout, then Nick Edwards (Atlanta, Ga. / Grayson [Glenville State]) swished in a 3 to open the lead to 12 with 11 minutes to play in the first half.
- The Racers sliced the gap to seven, but it again reached double figures with a Maximus Nelson (Appleton, Wis. / Appleton North) 3 at the 8:12 mark to make it 28-18. Ibra Bayu (Flevoland, The Netherlands / Perkiomen) then got in on the 3-point act with an open triple at the 6:19 mark to put Valpo up 31-22.
- Following the Bayu 3, Murray State rattled off seven straight points to slim the lead to two. The Racers took their first lead since 3-2 at 33-32 after a made basket with 2:34 left in the half. That was the score going into the locker room.
- Murray State built up their lead to as many as six early in the second half, but Valpo scored six straight points to tie the game at 44 on a basket by Bayu at 13:58.
- Murray State led by five with 9:56 to play, but then the Racers went cold, going on a long drought without a made field goal. During that time, the Beacons ran off an 8-0 run to grab the lead 57-54 with 6:43 to go. Krikke made an off-balance fade-away jumper with the shot clock winding down to increase the Valpo lead back to three with 4:14 to go.
- After a slow first half, Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Cross [Wisconsin]) turned it on after the break. He made several big shots late, including baskets with 3:10 and 1:44 remaining, both of which increased the Valpo lead to five.
- A second-chance opportunity in the final minute saw Edwards finish at the basket to up the lead back to three. With seven seconds to go in regulation, JaCobi Wood hit a second-chance, game-tying 3 after a scramble for the rebound created the open look.
- Murray State scored the first five points of overtime, forcing a Matt Lottich timeout. The Racer lead fluctuated between three and five before the hosts made a turnover to open the door for the Brown & Gold. Krikke was quickly fouled away from the ball and made the front end before missing the second, making it 74-72 with 21 seconds left.
- Murray State made both free throws, but then Edwards notched a quick basket and Murray State made a critical turnover caused by solid Valpo defense in the back court. After a long review, the call on the court stood with Valpo keeping possession, down just two with 17 seconds left in OT.
- Edwards missed the initial shot, but a tip-in by Bayu tied the game at 76 in the waning seconds. Then, Murray State raced down court and with 0.5 seconds left, a foul was whistled on Krikke. The Racers made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to win 77-76.
Inside the Game
- Krikke stayed on a roll, scoring 17 points or more for the 10th straight game, reaching double figures for the 19th straight game and finishing in double figures in all 20 Missouri Valley Conference contests this season. He accrued 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting against the Racers.
- Green, who had started each of the first 30 games this season, was sidelined due to concussion protocol. His return is questionable for Thursday’s MVC Tournament opener. Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) made his 15th career start and his first since November 2021 at Stanford.
- King had just two first half points on 1-of-7 shooting before going 6-of-8 for 14 points in the second half. He added two more in overtime to finish with 18 points. King scored in double figures in all 31 regular-season games for the Beacons.
- Edwards scored 16 points, his highest scoring output in league play this year and highest in any game since scoring 20 on Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill.
- Edwards also gave out five assists on Sunday, climbing over Bryce Drew’s 1997-98 season (155) for eighth on Valpo’s single-season assist list. Edwards has 157 helpers this year.
- Nelson led Valpo on the glass, grabbing seven caroms. He paced Valpo in rebounds for the third time this season.
- Valpo went 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) from 3 for the game after going 1-of-9 in the second half and overtime. Despite the 3-point struggles, the Beacons shot 51.7 percent from the field in the second half and 62.5 percent from the field in OT.
- Murray State attempted 20 free throws to Valpo’s six.
- Valpo slipped to 0-7 this season in MVC games that are decided by fewer than five points or in overtime. Nearly half of the team’s 15 MVC losses came in the aforementioned close calls.
- Krikke surpassed 600 points for the season on Sunday, lifting his season total to 608. He became just the eighth player in program history with 600 points in a single season. He also surpassed Tracy Gipson (1992-93; 595) for eighth on Valpo’s single-season scoring list.
- With his 11 made field goals in Kentucky, Krikke moved into a tie with Anthony Allison’s 1995-96 season (240) for fourth in program history in made field goals in a season. He passed Dan Oppland (2005-06; 231) and John Wolfenberg (1972-73; 230) on Sunday.
- Both matchups between Valpo and Murray State this season went to overtime. This happened last year between Valpo and Illinois State, and prior to that Valpo had not played multiple overtime games in a season against the same opponent since 1992-93 (UIC).
- This is the first time in program history that Valpo had two overtime losses to the same opponent in the same season.
- This marked Valpo’s fourth straight loss in overtime games and the team’s fifth OT game of the season. The Beacons have played 11 OT affairs in the last two seasons.
Valpo (11-20, 5-15 MVC) will rematch Murray State on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the opening round of the State Farm MVC Tournament in St. Louis. The game will be broadcast on the MVC TV Network with links to live coverage available on ValpoAthletics.com.