Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Fall to Green Bay Saturday Evening
Howard Little came up with ten points, five rebounds and three steals Saturday. (Ray Acevedo)
Howard Little came up with ten points, five rebounds and three steals Saturday. (Ray Acevedo)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

An evenly-matched game didn’t fall Valparaiso’s way Saturday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center, as the visiting Phoenix of Green Bay hit ten of its 12 free throw attempts in the end stages of the contest to hold off the Crusaders, 64-58.

“I thought both teams played hard and both teams played well tonight,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.  “We did a great job holding Green Bay scoreless for seven minutes to get back into the lead, and then we had opportunities to take the lead back late, if we could get a rebound or avoid a turnover.  But you have to give Green Bay credit; they made almost all their free throws down the stretch and got a couple big offensive rebounds.”

The Crusaders faced their largest deficit with 12:10 to play, as a fast-break layup by Rahmon Fletcher gave Green Bay a 48-40 advantage.  But the Crusader defense went to work, holding the Phoenix scoreless over the next seven minutes and lifting Valpo right back into the contest.

Brandon McPherson (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) connected on a layup out of the under-12 media timeout to cut the deficit to six points, and Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) split two pairs of free throws to make it a 48-44 game with 8:52 remaining.  After the Crusaders forced a Green Bay turnover, Brandon Wood (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo [Highland C.C./Southern Illinois]) got to the foul line and connected on a pair of free throws.

On Valpo’s next offensive trip, McPherson made a nifty pass inside to Cameron Witt (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia/Launceston), who finished the layup to tie things up at 48 with 7:33 remaining.  Nearly two minutes later, Wood capped the 10-0 run with two more freebies, giving Valpo the 50-48 advantage with 5:49 to play.

The lead would swing between the two squads for the next couple minutes, with McPherson finding Little for a layup with 3:24 left that gave the Crusaders a 53-52 lead.  Bryquis Perine answered with a long jumper on Green Bay’s next possession that gave the Phoenix the lead for good.

The Phoenix would score the rest of its points from the free throw line, connecting on 4-of-6 over a 1:16 stretch to push its edge to 58-53 with 1:17 to play.  McPherson answered with a pair of free throws on Valpo’s next possession, and after Wood came up with a steal, the Crusaders had a shot to tie.  But a 3-point attempt with 39 seconds left was off the mark, and although McPherson hit a triple with 15 seconds remaining to cut the lead to two, Green Bay hit its free throws and kept Valpo from earning another chance to tie or take the lead.

A 10-0 run with four points apiece from Little and Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East [Iowa State]) erased a seven-point Green Bay lead late in the first half, but the Phoenix closed the opening stanza on an 8-2 spurt to take a 32-29 lead into the break.  Valpo took a slim one-point lead twice in the early stages of the second half before the Phoenix put together a 10-2 run of its own to take the 48-40 advantage nearing the midway point.

Wood paced the Crusaders with 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, while Johnson chipped in 14 points, including an 8-of-9 effort from the charity stripe.  Little was the third Crusader in double figures, closing the night with ten points, five rebounds and three steals.

Green Bay (11-5, 4-1) was led by 16 points from Perine, while Randy Berry put up a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds.  The Phoenix got at least six points from seven of its eight players who saw action.

Valparaiso (6-9, 1-2) returns to action on the national stage on Friday, January 8, as the Crusaders will play at Detroit in a game televised on ESPNU.  Opening tip is slated for 6 p.m. CST, and as always, all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso; WLPR, 89.1 FM, Merrillville) and online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.

W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo 2 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24 #21/21 Notre Dame 7
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo