When the stakes were highest, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team got the job done on Tuesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. After a setback on Friday night in which they led for the entire first half before seeing the opponent pull away late, the Beacons flipped the script on Tuesday. They took their first lead of the game with 9:04 remaining and outscored visiting Green Bay by 10 in the second half to assemble a 64-59 victory.
How It Happened
- The two teams exchanged baskets early with Green Bay scoring and Valpo following by tying the game up until 8-8. Jaxon Edwards (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral) had two of the four early Beacon buckets.
- Green Bay hit the game’s first 3-pointer at the 12:35 mark, and from there the guests held the lead until a driving layup by Edwards tied it at 16 with 7:23 to go in the half.
- After a 5-0 run by the Phoenix, Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Vallye Southwest [Link Year]) hit Valpo’s first 3 of the game at the 4:53 mark to trim the deficit to two. The gap was whittled to one after a layup by Ola Ajiboye (Chicago, Ill. / Evanston Township [Central Michigan / Bosco Institute]) with 1:07 to go in the half, but the Phoenix boosted the lead back to five by the break at 31-26.
- Each team had just one 3-point make in the first half as the teams combined to go 2-for-16 from long range.
- The Phoenix stretched the lead to eight by the 15:36 mark of the second half, leading 38-30. Valpo scored the next seven points to shrink the margin to one at 38-37 with 12:40 left in the second half.
- The Beacons took their first lead of the game with 9:04 remaining as Sherman Weatherspoon IV (Bowie, Md. / Bethesda-Chevy Chase [Golden State Prep]) knocked down a jumper. This came after a steal and fastbreak layup by Edwards had cut the lead to one.
- The Brown & Gold extended the advantage to four at 48-44 with 7:27 to go as Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Crispus Attucks [John A. Logan / Southern Indiana]) hit a key 3. Edwards knocked in another big trey with 4:55 on the clock to make it 54-48, then it was Stafford again from long range with 2:29 left to make it 60-52.
- Green Bay fought to within two with 14 seconds to go, but Valpo made its free throws and got a stop to hold on for the five-point win.
Inside the Game
- Valpo blocked nine shots in the game, the team’s most since Dec. 30, 2019 vs. Loyola (also nine).
- A pair of Beacons rejected four shots apiece – Edwards and Ajiboye. This is the first time in over a decade that two different Valpo players had four blocks each in the same game.
- Valpo took impeccable care of the basketball, turning it over just five times. This marked Valpo’s fewest turnovers since also having five on Feb. 21, 2021 at Southern Illinois. The last time Valpo had fewer than five was Nov. 28, 2014 vs. Drake (four).
- Point guard Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) tallied five assists against no turnovers.
- Edwards paced the team in scoring with a career-high 19, while Stafford turned in 18.
- Ajiboye led the team on the glass with nine rebounds. Edwards and Palm squeezed eight apiece.
- The 3-point line proved to be a frozen tundra for the Phoenix, who went just 2-of-18 (11.1 percent) from long range. This was Valpo’s best 3-point defense since Dec. 18, 2022 vs. Elon (3-of-27, also 11.1 percent).
- This marked the first game between the two former Horizon League foes since Valpo joined the Missouri Valley Conference prior to the 2017-2018 campaign.
- Valpo became the first team in the nation this season with nine or more blocks and five or fewer turnovers in the same game. That combination was achieved by only seven teams in the nation during the 2022-2023 season.
Postgame Press Conference
Click here for postgame press conference.
The Beacons (2-1) will play head coach Roger Powell Jr.’s alma mater on Friday night in the first road game of the season as they head to No. 23 Illinois. The game will air on B1G+.