January 24, 20241st2ndFinal
Southern Ill.294675
Stats at a GlanceVALPOSIU
FG Percentage.441 (26-59) .462 (24-52)
3P FG Percentage.389 (7-18) .318 (7-22)
FT Percentage.556 (10-18) .769 (20-26)
Offensive Rebounds910
Defensive Rebounds2229
Total Rebounds3139
Bench Points2111
PointsSchwieger - 20
Johnson - 27
ReboundsSchwieger - 7
Rupert - 8
Ferguson - 8
AssistsDeAveiro - 4
Johnson - 5
StealsWeatherspoon - 4
D'Amico - 3
BlocksEdwards - 3
Johnson - 1
Host SIU Fends Off Beacons to Escape with Home Win
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
Host SIU Fends Off Beacons to Escape with Home Win
Cooper Schwieger had his highest scoring output in MVC play.

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team battled to the finish, but the host Southern Illinois escaped with a 75-69 win at the Banterra Center in a game that saw Valpo lead by seven early in the second half before never going away despite facing a gap as large as 13. SIU’s Xavier Johnson, who ranks third in the nation in scoring, was held to two points in the first half but exploded for 23 after the break. Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest [Link Year]) paced the Beacons with 20 points and seven rebounds.

How It Happened

  • Southern Illinois raced out to the early lead by scoring the game’s first four points, then Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Crispus Attucks [John A. Logan / Southern Indiana]) hit a 3 to make it 4-3. The Beacons grabbed their first lead of the game at 9-7 with 14:48 left in the half when Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) hit a second-chance triple after a rebound by Ola Ajiboye (Chicago, Ill. / Evanston Township [Central Michigan / Bosco Institute]).
  • The Beacons used a 6-0 burst to turn a one-point deficit into a five-point edge. Ajiboye hit a pair of baskets to provide a key lift off the bench during that stretch. The lead seesawed back and forth in the middle part of the half. A floater by Sherman Weatherspoon IV (Bowie, Md. / Bethesda-Chevy Chase [Golden State Prep]) made it 25-22 in favor of the guests with five minutes left in the half. DeAveiro followed with a driving layup to make it 27-22.
  • Valpo hit four free throws in the final two minutes of the half to up the edge to five at the break at 34-29.
  • Valpo scored the first basket of the second half thanks to Schwieger converting a second-chance layup that opened up the largest Beacon lead of the game at seven. SIU scored the next 11 points to take a 40-36 lead, and eventually led 52-39 after a 23-3 burst.
  • Valpo trailed by 10 with 9:47 remaining, but never gave up. A 6-0 run featuring two Schwieger buckets trimmed the lead to four at 56-52. Every time the Salukis were on the verge of pulling away, Valpo had a response. Jahari Williamson (Pickering, Ontario, Canada / Royal Crown Academy) hit a second-chance 3 after a tap out by Ajiboye to extend the possession, cutting the lead to six at 63-57 with 4:19 to go.
  • SIU increased the lead back to 10, but a traditional 3-point play by Stafford and a fastbreak layup by Williamson fought the Beacons back to within five. They got it down to four on another 3 by Williamson, but the Salukis held on.

Inside the Game

  • Schwieger finished with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 2-of-3 from 3 while pulling down seven rebounds. Schwieger’s 20 points marked his highest total in MVC play and his second highest scoring output of the season behind 21 on Dec. 29 at Elon. He’s scored 19 points or more in back-to-back games and has put together four straight double-figure efforts.
  • Schwieger has pulled down seven or more rebounds in six straight games.
  • Stafford tallied 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He has been in double figures in six straight since coming back from an injury.
  • Williamson made his way into double figures for the second time in the last three games and the seventh time this season.
  • The free-throw line plagued the Beacons, who went 10-of-18 (55.6 percent). SIU outscored Valpo 20-10 at the stripe in a game the Salukis won by six.
  • Each of Valpo’s last four losses have been by single figures. The Beacons have lost eight games by nine points or fewer this season including six of the seven conference setbacks.

Up Next

The Beacons (6-14, 2-7 MVC) will host Missouri State on Saturday at 3 p.m. It’s Blaze’s Birthday Party including a halftime frisbee dog act and BOGO hot dogs. For ticket information, visit valpoathletics.com/tickets.