Valpo opened the second half on a 27-5 run to blow open a close game and roll past Longwood 105-73 Saturday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders scored 100 points for the second time this season, and won by 30-plus points for the second consecutive game.
Six Valpo players finished in double-figures scoring, led by Dan Oppland
(Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) who had 19 points, all in the first half. The senior, celebrating his 22nd birthday, played only 24 minutes in the game, his lowest total since playing 23 against IUSB November 28. Shawn Huff
(Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) was next in line, scoring 18 for the second-straight game, matching his career-high. Huff also added a game-high seven rebounds and dished out three assists in 24 minutes off the bench.
The Crusaders scored the first four points of the second half, pushing their lead to 60-45. One minute later it was 62-50 Valpo, and then the floodgates opened, as the Brown and Gold rattled off 21 unanswered points. During the run, the Crusaders forced six turnovers and made 8-of-11 shots. From there Valpo coasted, leading by as much as 37, and watching every player score and see at least seven minutes of action.
In the opening stanza, Valpo jumped ahead 7-2 and did not trail from there on. The Crusaders led by as much as 14, and closed the half ahead by 11, 56-45. Oppland's 19 led all scorers in the first 20 minutes, and Mohamed Kone
(Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre) had 10 points. Valpo committed only five first half turnovers and out-rebounded the Lancers 21-16.
Kone finished the night with 16 points, a career-high, to go along with five rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals. His assist and steal totals also are career-bests for the 6'11" senior, who made 7-of-11 shots from the field, the best shooting night of his Valpo career.
(Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) joined Huff with a second-straight fine performance, equaling his career-high in points for the second time in as many nights, finishing with 14 of 4-of-7 shooting and a pair of three-pointers. Loyd also had a game-high five assists and only one turnover. Ron Howard
(Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) bounced back from the only scoreless night of his Crusader career Monday night to finish with 12 points, while freshman Urule Igbavboa
(Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) set a career-high with 10 points and two steals.
The Brown and Gold shot 55% from the floor, made 9-of-18 three-pointers and connected on 30-of-40 free throw attempts. In the last three games, all Valpo wins, the Crusaders are averaging 96.3 points, shooting 50% from the floor, have made 30-of-57 three-pointers (52.6%), and are averaging 21.0 assists per game.
In Saturday's win, Valpo out-rebounded Longwood 41-33, and got 21 assists on 33 made baskets. The Crusaders also committed only 13 turnovers and forced 21 from the Lancers. Valpo also had 11 steals, their fourth game this season with at least 10 steals.
Longwood (3-14) shot only 25.6% in the second half, finishing the night shooting 36.5% from the floor and 34.8% from three-point range. Maurice Sumter led the Lancers with 17 points. The 32-point margin was Longwood's most lopsided defeat this year.
The Crusaders (8-4, 2-1 Mid-Con) return to conference action Monday night at 7:35 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center against preseason favorite Oral Roberts. That game will be televised live on WYIN 56 in Merrillville, Ind. and WHME, channel 46 in South Bend, Ind. Live coverage can also be heard on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.