January 20, 20241st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceUICVALPO
FG Percentage.469 (30-64) .450 (27-60)
3P FG Percentage.400 (10-25) .421 (8-19)
FT Percentage.700 (7-10) .917 (22-24)
Offensive Rebounds511
Defensive Rebounds2131
Total Rebounds2642
Bench Points1533
PointsJones - 18
Schwieger - 19
ReboundsSkobalj - 6
Schwieger - 9
AssistsJones - 8
DeAveiro - 3
Schwieger - 3
StealsKennedy - 2
DeAveiro - 1
Schwieger - 1
BlocksJones - 2
Weatherspoon - 1
Ajiboye - 1
Schwieger - 1
Valpo Rallies Past UIC for Home Victory
Saturday, January 20, 2024
Valpo Rallies Past UIC for Home Victory
Ola Ajiboye had 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 6-of-6 at the free-throw line in Saturday's win.

Simply put, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team never gave up on Saturday afternoon. Not when UIC already owned a double-figure lead with not even seven minutes elapsed in the game. Not when the Flames maintained an 11-point advantage with 7:47 remaining. And not even when Valpo still trailed by four with 2:30 to go.

A 9-0 run in crunch time made Valpo’s struggles down the stretch in the first matchup with UIC a distant memory and the heartbreak of Wednesday’s game at Evansville a thing of the past. The Beacons barreled past the Flames 84-77 in front of a lively Athletics-Recreation Center audience that was loud during the halftime dunk show and even louder when Ola Ajiboye (Chicago, Ill. / Evanston Township [Central Michigan / Bosco Institute]) and Jaxon Edwards (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Murray State]) put on a dunk show of their own.

How It Happened

  • UIC ran off seven straight points to grab a 7-2 lead in the early going. That gap expanded to 10 at 18-8 with 13:41 on the clock.
  • Valpo fought back from 10 down with an 8-0 run that featured six points from Ajiboye. The Beacons grabbed the lead a moment later when Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Crispus Attucks [John A. Logan / Southern Indiana]) hit a triple to make it 21-20 with 7:19 to go in the half.
  • The lead was short lived as UIC went on a 13-0 run to take a 12-point lead at 33-21 with 4:26 until the break.  
  • Valpo fought to within six when Sherman Weatherspoon IV (Bowie, Md. / Bethesda-Chevy Chase [Golden State Prep]) hit a 3 following back-to-back baskets by Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest [Link Year]). Valpo got within five when Jahari Williamson (Pickering, Ontario, Canada / Royal Crown Academy) hit one from distance, then had another jumper before the half to make it 39-34 UIC at the break.
  • UIC put together a 6-0 spurt early in the second half to extend a three-point lead to nine at 50-41 with 16:32 on the clock. Schwieger hit a three to cut it to six, but the UIC advantage ballooned to 12 as the Flames hit a pair of 3s to make it 56-44.
  • Valpo trailed by 12 as late as the 10:29 mark and by 11 with just 7:47 to play. Trailing by eight with five minutes remaining, Edwards slammed home a second-chance dunk to make it 73-67, then Schwieger sliced the lead in half with a 3-ball at the 4:32 mark.
  • The run reached seven when Stafford scored to make it 73-72, then eventually a huge 3 by Edwards with 1:25 to go put Valpo ahead at 77-76 and brought the decibel level in the ARC to a season peak.
  • After drawing an offensive foul on the other end of the court, Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada / Orangeville Prep) scored with 49 seconds left to boost the lead to three, then Ajiboye’s alleyoop dunk on a gutsy assist by Schwieger with 31 seconds to go made it 81-76 and capped a timely 9-0 Valpo run.
  • DeAveiro hit two key free throws with 20 seconds left, then Stafford split a pair with 10 seconds on the clock to put the game out of reach.


Inside the Game

  • Four Beacons scored in double figures, led by Schwieger’s 19 points, his third straight double-figure performance and his highest output in league play. This marked his second-highest point total of the season behind 21 on Dec. 29 at Elon.
  • Ajiboye played 29 minutes, his second-highest total of the season and highest since Nov. 21, and racked up 16 points, his third double-figure scoring effort and first since the Nov. 21 game against Western Illinois, when he scored 21.
  • Schwieger and Ajiboye were joined in double figures by DeAveiro and Stafford, who tallied 10 points apiece. DeAveiro has nine or more in seven straight, while Stafford has been in double figures in all five games since his return from an injury.
  • Schwieger paced the team with nine rebounds, one shy of his third straight double-double. He’s had eight or more boards in five straight games. Ajiboye collected seven caroms, his highest total in conference play.
  • The Beacons owned a 42-26 rebounding advantage and held an 11-5 edge on the offensive glass.
  • Valpo went 22-of-24 at the free-throw line, 91.7 percent. That was the team’s best day at the stripe this season in terms of both made free throws and free-throw percentage. This was Valpo’s highest made free-throw total since last season’s home game against UIC (23, Jan. 17, 2023). This was the team’s best percentage at the stripe (minimum seven attempts) since Feb. 12, 2022 at Missouri State (92.6 percent).
  • Schweiger (9-for-9) and Ajiboye (6-for-6) were both perfect at the free-throw line. Schwieger became the first Valpo player to go perfect at the free-throw line with nine or more attempts since Tevonn Walker went 10-for-10 back on Jan. 3, 2018 at Bradley.
  • Valpo overcame a 12-point deficit, the team’s first double-figure comeback this season. This was Valpo’s biggest rally since Nov. 20, 2021, overcoming a 12-point gap vs. Tulane in the Bahamas. 
  • Valpo turned it over just eight times, while UIC gave it away on only five occasions. This was Valpo’s third time this season with single-digit turnovers and first since Nov. 17 at No. 23 Illinois.

Postgame Press Conference

Click here for postgame press conference.

Up Next

The Beacons (6-13, 2-6 MVC) will return to the road to visit Southern Illinois on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Carbondale, Ill. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.