An impressive all-around performance by the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team received an exclamation point with 4:45 to play, as senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) corralled his career-best 16th rebound of the game to break Valpo’s career rebounding record as the Crusaders closed out an 80-56 victory over the Phoenix at the ARC Monday evening.
Peters’ record-breaking rebound came on the defensive end – his fourth consecutive defensive board for the Crusaders. The board was the 911th of his career, breaking Chris Ensminger’s previous Valpo record of 910, and the senior left the court to a standing ovation from the Valpo faithful 20 seconds later.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders looked to put the Phoenix away quickly on Monday night, reeling off an early 22-3 run over a stretch of seven-plus minutes to go ahead 24-9 just over nine minutes into the game. Freshman Micah Bradford (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) capped the run with six consecutive points.
- Green Bay responded, however, as it scored 19 of the next 27 points to close to within 32-28 in the final minute of the opening half.
- Valpo had the ball for the final possession of the first half, and while the Crusaders’ attempted play was thwarted by the Phoenix defense, junior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) stepped up and knocked down a 3-pointer with a defender in his face as the shot clock expired to give Valpo a 35-28 lead at the half.
- Valpo’s lead was still just seven points at 42-35 with 17:24 to play before a 3-pointer from senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) started a 17-0 Valpo run over the next four-plus minutes.
- The Crusaders went 7-of-11 from the floor during the run, getting second-chance baskets off of two of the misses. Peters and Joseph added triples to Hammink’s 3-pointer during the spurt, while freshman John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) had a fast-break dunk as well. The Crusaders capped the run with their ubiquitous “home run ball”, as Peters hit junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) with a length of the court pass over the top of the defense against the press.
- Valpo continued to pull away, as the Crusader defense limited Green Bay to just seven points over a 12-minute stretch. The lead reached its peak with 5:22 to play, as another 3-pointer by Hammink gave Valpo a 32-point advantage.
Inside the Game
- Peters grabbed seven rebounds in the first half before coming away with nine boards in the second half to set the career record before being lifted from the game.
- Peters’ 16 rebounds set a new single-game high for the senior, as he had previously grabbed 15 rebounds on four separate occasions – most recently just four days ago at Youngstown State.
- Peters enjoyed another solid game on the offensive end of the ball as well, finishing 8-of-14 from the floor – including a trio of 3-pointers – to finish with a game-high 20 points.
- Peters has now scored 2,136 career points, and enters Sunday’s game with UIC just six points shy of tying and seven points shy of breaking Valpo’s career scoring record, currently held by Bryce Drew.
- Four members of the Valpo starting lineup scored in double figures in Monday’s win. Walker hit 6-of-10 from the floor for 13 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds, picking up his second double-double in the last four games.
- Hammink tallied 12 points and five rebounds, while Bradford came up just one point shy of his career high as he finished with 11 points.
- Joseph enjoyed another strong performance off the bench, tallying six points and matching his career best with five assists without committing a turnover.
- Valpo hit 40.9% from the 3-point line, its third-best percentage of the year from beyond the arc. Four different Crusaders connected on multiple triples.
- For the third straight game, the Crusaders enjoyed a double-figure edge on the glass, as they out-rebounded the Phoenix by a 51-39 margin. Valpo pulled down 12 offensive rebounds which led to 15 second-chance points.
- Valpo also held a decided advantage inside, out-scoring the Phoenix in the paint, 40-24.
- Facing a Green Bay team which touts its RP40 system of relentless pressure, the Crusaders committed a season-low eight turnovers and limited the Phoenix to just two fast-break points.
- Green Bay (11-7, 5-1 Horizon), which entered the game on a seven-game winning streak, got a team-high 11 points off the bench from Jamar Hurdle. Valpo held Green Bay to just 31% shooting for the game, including a 6-of-25 mark from 3-point range.
The Crusaders (15-4, 5-1 Horizon) continue their four-game homestand on Sunday as they host UIC at 2 p.m. in an American Sports Network broadcast, available locally on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. As always, the game can be heard as well on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso), with links for the live coverage available via ValpoAthletics.com.