Valparaiso, Ind. - Ron Howard scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high eight rebounds as Valpo defeated Chicago State 76-69. The win was the fifth straight for Valpo (12-11, 8-3), which also received 16 points and eight rebounds from Dan Oppland.
Seth Colclasure and Jimmie Miles added 10 points each for the Crusaders. The Cougars were led by Tony Weeden's 21 points. Deji Akindele tallied 16 points and seven boards for CSU.
The game was close throughout as Valpo's biggest lead in the first half was eight and Chicago State pulled within one on two separate occasions in the second half, trailing 66-64 with three minutes remaining.
Valpo, which never trailed in the final 20 minutes, put together a 7-2 run to extend its lead to 73-66 with 40 seconds left as Howard made a jumper and added two free throws, and Miles made a conventional three-point play.
Chicago State (6-14, 5-5), which won in dramatic fashion Saturday night at UMKC by making two, 3-point field goals in the last 1.9 seconds, trailed Valpo 74-69 with 18 seconds left before Colclasure's two free throws with 13 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.
After the opening tipoff, Valpo held a 7-2 lead as Howard swished a 3-pointer with 17:12 left. Since the 13:42 mark when CSU took a 10-9 lead, the lead changed hands 10 times. Valpo used an 11-2 run late in the first half to take a 33-25 lead and the Crusaders held a 33-27 halftime advantage. Oppland topped Valpo with 12 first-half points, while the Cougars were led by Weeden's seven points.
Valpo outrebounded CSU 39-31 as five Crusaders grabbed five-or-more rebounds. In addition to eight each by Howard and Oppland, Miles snagged six, and Shawn Huff and Colclasure had five each.
The Cougars' 39-30 advantage in points in the paint allowed them to remain close to the Crusaders the entire game. Valpo held an advantage in free throws, draining 16 of 23 to CSU's 11 of 19. Each team made six, 3-pointers.
Valpo finished shooting 50 percent overall (27 of 54) to Chicago State's 43 percent (26 of 60).
Miles dished out five assists and Howard and Colclasure distributed four each. Huff blocked two shots for Valpo. Craig Franklin, who added 10 points, had four assists for CSU.
Valpo concludes a three-game homestand on Saturday by hosting IUPUI at 7:05 p.m.