December 02, 20231st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceVALPOBEL
FG Percentage.417 (30-72) .517 (30-58)
3P FG Percentage.304 (7-23) .364 (8-22)
FT Percentage.500 (1-2) .563 (9-16)
Offensive Rebounds1213
Defensive Rebounds1930
Total Rebounds3143
Bench Points1326
PointsStafford - 21
Dia - 18
ReboundsAjiboye - 6
Dia - 10
AssistsDeAveiro - 5
Gillespie - 5
StealsWeatherspoon - 3
Stafford - 3
Willingham - 3
BlocksSchwieger - 2
Rogers - 2
Early Hot Shooting Helps Bruins Top Beacons
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Early Hot Shooting Helps Bruins Top Beacons
Isaiah Stafford scored a game-high 21 points on Saturday.

Belmont started the game red hot from 3-point territory, hitting three 3-pointers over the game’s first 90 seconds to jump out to an immediate 9-0 lead on Saturday afternoon at the Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tenn. The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team went toe-to-toe the rest of the way in a road Missouri Valley Conference contest, matching the Bruins 68-68 over the game’s final 38:30 of a 77-68 setback. Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Crispus Attucks [John A. Logan / Southern Indiana]) poured in a game-high 21 points, while Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest [Link Year]) tallied up a career-high 18.

How It Happened

  • The aforementioned 3-point shooting barrage out of the gate extended to six of Belmont’s first eight triple tries going down as they built up a 21-9 lead with 12:38 on the first-half clock.
  • Valpo fought back by scoring the game’s next 10 points, trimming the deficit to two at 21-19 with 10:16 on the clock. Jaxon Edwards (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Murray State]) and Jahari Williamson (Pickering, Ottawa, Canada / Royal Crown Academy) hit back-to-back 3s to jumpstart the run that got the Beacons back in the game.
  • The Bruins responded with a 9-0 run of their own to open up an 11-point lead at 30-19 with 8:33 to go in the half. The gap extended to 16 with 4:29 to go in the first, but Valpo chipped away and closed to within single figures at the break at 43-34.
  • The lead fluctuated between seven and 11 early in the second half. Valpo took advantage of a few second chances including a 3 by Williamson at 14:26 and a bucket by Jerome Palm (Almere, Netherlands / Echnaton [Hillsborough CC]) that trimmed the lead to six at 56-50 with 12:33 to play.
  • The Beacons never went away, but they never got over the hump either. Six was the closest they would get in a game that eventually saw the Bruins prevail by nine.

Inside the Game

  • Stafford scored 21 points on 10-of-20 shooting, while Schwieger’s 18 came on 8-of-14 from the field. Edwards chipped in nine points on an efficient 4-of-6 shooting.
  • Valpo had just two free-throw attempts compared to 16 for Belmont. The Beacons became just the fourth Division-I team nationally to have two or fewer free-throw attempts in a game this season.
  • This marked just the third time since the start of the 2011-12 season that Valpo has been held to two or fewer free-throw attempts. Valpo shot just two free throws on Nov. 25, 2011 at Ohio State and did not attempt a free throw on Nov. 25, 2022 vs. South Dakota State in Savannah, Ga.
  • Edwards’ nine points marked his highest total over his last five games.
  • Stafford enjoyed his fourth game this season with 20 points or more. He scored 20 or more in both conference contests this week.
  • Schwieger’s 18 points marked the top total of his young collegiate career, surpassing his previous high of 17 vs. Southern. He’s scored a dozen points or more in five straight.
  • For the fourth straight game and the sixth time in eight games this year, Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) handed out five or more assists with five exactly.
  • The team’s leading rebounder was Ola Ajiboye (Chicago, Ill. / Evanston Township [Central Michigan / Bosco Institute]) with six.
  • After making six of its first eight 3s, Belmont cooled off to 1-of-15 the rest of the way.

Up Next

The Beacons (4-4, 0-2 MVC) will step back outside of conference play to visit Central Michigan on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Central Time. The game will air on ESPN+