The Crusaders came into Thursday night's game without three of their top seven players. They left with their six-game winning streak in the rear view mirror after a 90-76 loss to Chicago State at the Jacoby D. Dickens Center in Chicago, Ill.
Valpo was without starting center Mohamed Kone
(Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre), sixth-man Shawn Huff
(Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) and starting guard Jimmie Miles
(Country Club Hills, Ill./Rich Central). Miles missed his fifth-straight game with an illness.
The Cougars led for much of the early stages of the game, building a 25-13 lead midway through the half, dominating the glass and making 10 of their first 14 shots. With under six minutes to go, the Chicago State lead was 29-15, before back-to-back three-pointers from Dan Oppland
(Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) and Seth Colclasure
(Decatur, Ind./Bellmont) started the Crusaders back. The lead was down to six before an 8-0 run helped bounce the Cougar lead to 41-31 at the half.
Only four Crusaders scored in the first half, led by 12 from Oppland. Colclasure had nine on a trio of three-pointers and Ron Howard
(Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) chipped in eight. Valpo shot only 39.3% in the first half compared to blistering 53.6% shooting for the Cougars. Chicago State also had a big edge on the boards, out-rebounding Valpo 21-13.
The second half was more of the same, with the Crusaders unable to knock down a shot and Chicago State's Kevin Jones, Jr. going for five quick points to put the Cougars ahead 48-31. Valpo made a brief run to cut a 23-point Cougar lead to 15, but Chicago State again pulled away and had a 20-point lead with 9:33 to go.
Valpo never would relent, mounting several brief spurts, cutting the lead to 11 on a Colclasure three-pointer with 4:09 remaining. But in the end the Cougars just would not miss enough to allow Valpo a shot, shooting a scorching 57.1% from the field, including 50% from three-point range, and hit 29-of-38 from the free throw line.
Colclasure made a career-high six three-pointers en route to a 20-point night, the second highest scoring output of his career. Howard led all scorers with 23 points. Oppland was held to one point in the second half and finished with 13, his second lowest total of the season. The Crusaders shot just 36.8% from the field but did make 10-of-27 three-pointers.
Royce Parran led the Cougars (3-14, 2-4 Mid-Con) with 20 points, pacing five players in double-figures. Chicago State out-rebounded Valpo 40-35, and out-scored the Brown and Gold 38-24 in the paint.
The Crusaders (11-5, 4-2 Mid-Con) continue their four-game road swing Saturday night at Southern Utah, with tip-off set for 8:05 p.m. That game can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics beginning at 7:50 pm.