January 31, 20241st2ndFinal
Stats at a GlanceVALPODRA
FG Percentage.443 (27-61) .403 (25-62)
3P FG Percentage.364 (8-22) .360 (9-25)
FT Percentage.615 (8-13) .815 (22-27)
Offensive Rebounds212
Defensive Rebounds2836
Total Rebounds3048
Bench Points1716
PointsStafford - 32
Brodie - 19
ReboundsPalm - 7
Brodie - 18
AssistsDeAveiro - 5
Enright - 4
Wright - 4
DeVries - 4
StealsEdwards - 2
Williamson - 2
Stafford - 2
DeVries - 2
BlocksEdwards - 2
Stafford Rewrites Career High, Host Bulldogs Fend Off Beacons
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
Stafford Rewrites Career High, Host Bulldogs Fend Off Beacons
Isaiah Stafford had a career-high 32 points on Wednesday. (Dylan Heuer)

Valparaiso University men’s basketball junior Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Crispus Attucks [John A. Logan / Southern Indiana]) made shots from all over the court. It didn’t matter if he was driving to the basket, firing from midrange or launching a 3, Stafford made tough looks look easy all night as part of a career-high 32 points that came in an 81-70 loss to Drake, the defending Missouri Valley Conference champion and a team battling for the top spot in the league standings again this season.

How It Happened

  • Drake scored the game’s first five points, but then Stafford battled back with five straight points to tie the game at five.
  • Valpo played well on the defensive end early in the half, and cut the lead to one at 12-11 after Jahari Williamson (Pickering, Ontario, Canada / Royal Crown Academy) hit one from long range with 12:49 left in the half.
  • The lead fluctuated between three and six until Stafford hit a 3 to cut it to two with 7:48 left in the half. After that, Drake embarked on an 11-0 run to open up a 13-point lead with three minutes left in the half. Valpo went into the break chasing 11 at 41-30.
  • Valpo used an 8-0 run to cut the lead to seven at 45-38 after a jumper by Stafford with 14:29 left in the second half. However, Drake responded with a quick 8-0 run of its own to send the lead right back up to 15 and negate the Beacon burst.  
  • Valpo never stopped fighting, cutting it down to single figures again before Drake beefed the lead back up to 18 with 3:04 to play. Valpo had another late flurry with Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest [Link Year]) and Stafford hitting 3s to help decrease the gap to 11, which proved to be the final margin.

Inside the Game

  • Stafford’s 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting featured four made 3s. He surpassed his previous peak of 31 that was set when he was a freshman at Southern Indiana and matched this season on Jan. 17 at Evansville.  
  • Stafford became the fourth different Valpo player to score at least 32 points in a game over the last 10 seasons, joining Ben Krikke, Javon Freeman-Liberty and Alec Peters (five times).
  • Valpo had just two offensive rebounds, and both came in the final 30 seconds. The Beacons were outrebounded 48-30. This was Valpo’s fewest offensive boards in a game since Feb. 8 of last season at Indiana State.
  • The Beacons won the turnover battle 11-7 and grabbed eight steals to Drake’s two. Valpo’s solid defensive effort also included four blocks to Drake’s none.
  • The free-throw line played a big role in the game’s outcome, as Drake outscored Valpo 22-8 at the stripe. The Bulldogs went 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) to Valpo’s 8-of-13 (61.5 percent).
  • Darnell Brodie had a near 20&20 game of 19 points and 18 rebounds. This was the most rebounds hauled in by an opposing player against Valpo since Shakur Juiston on Nov. 28, 2018 vs. UNLV.
  • Junior Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) had 12 points, his eighth double-figure scoring effort in the last 10 games. He dished out five assists.
  • Senior Jerome Palm (Almere, Netherlands / Echnaton [Hillsborough CC]) squeezed seven rebounds in 11 minutes of play. It marked his highest rebound total since grabbing 10 on Nov. 17 at No. 23 Illinois.
  • Valpo shot at a higher percentage than Drake from the floor (44.3 percent to 40.3 percent) and from 3-point range (36.4 percent to 36.0 percent). This was Valpo’s first loss of the season when shooting at a higher percentage than the opponent (previously 4-0).

Up Next

The Beacons (6-16, 2-9 MVC) will host Evansville on Saturday at 3 p.m. It’s Beach Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center with tickets available at valpoathletics.com/tickets.