December 09, 20171st2ndFinal
Ball State294271
Stats at a GlanceVALPOBSU
FG Percentage.453 (24-53) .450 (27-60)
3P FG Percentage.409 (9-22) .318 (7-22)
FT Percentage.722 (13-18) .556 (10-18)
Offensive Rebounds98
Defensive Rebounds3025
Total Rebounds3933
Bench Points2720
PointsBurton - 17
ReboundsJoseph - 11
AssistsEvelyn - 6
StealsJoseph - 2
Evelyn - 2
BlocksBurton - 2
Crusaders Drop Heartbreaker on Last-Second Triple
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Crusaders Drop Heartbreaker on Last-Second Triple
Max Joseph scored eight points and set a new career high Saturday with 11 rebounds.

The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team overcame an 11-point second-half deficit and led in the closing seconds Saturday afternoon in Muncie, Ind., but Ball State’s Tayler Persons connected on a deep 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds to play and the Crusaders’ last effort was off the mark as they fell to the Cardinals by a 71-70 final.

How It Happened

  • Ball State opened the second half by outscoring the Crusaders 21-8 over the opening 5:11, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 50-39 lead for the Cardinals with 14:49 to play.
  • A 3-pointer from redshirt sophomore Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./ Clackamas [North Idaho]) stopped the Cardinals’ run and sparked a spurt of Valpo’s own. The Crusaders outscored Ball State 25-7 over the next eight-plus minutes.
  • Redshirt sophomore Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) led the way during the run with eight points, while redshirt sophomore Bakari Evelyn (Detroit, Mich./Hillcrest Academy/Southfield Christian [Nebraska]) had seven during the stretch – including a runner in the lane to cap the spurt and give Valpo a 64-57 lead with 6:37 to play.
  • The Crusaders would come up empty on their next four trips, allowing Ball State to move back to within one at 64-63. Senior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) hit Smits for a layup to stop the momentum with 3:38 to play, and Smits split a pair of free throws after grabbing a rebound on the defensive end to push the lead back to 67-63 with three minutes to go.
  • Persons would score the next five on successive trips for Ball State to give the Cardinals the lead at 68-67 with two minutes to go. The teams traded empty possessions before Joseph was fouled on a putback attempt and calmly drained both freebies to give Valpo a 69-68 lead with 57 seconds remaining.
  • After forcing a turnover, the Crusaders ran the shot clock down before a miss and a foul on the rebound gave Ball State a chance to tie or take the lead with a 1-and-1. But the Cardinals missed the front end, and sophomore John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) split a pair of free throws after being fouled with 15.4 seconds to play to push the lead to 70-68.
  • Valpo would fall victim to a buzzer-beater, however, as Persons stepped into a deep triple that went through with 3.3 seconds to play. The Crusaders had one more shot and got a solid look from Evelyn on the left wing, but it wouldn’t full as Valpo fell to its second straight defeat.
  • The play of redshirt junior Joe Burton (Porter, Texas/Atascocita [Oklahoma State]) lifted Valpo early, as he scored 11 points over the game’s first nine minutes before picking up his second foul.
  • Valpo led for a majority of the opening half, and when Ball State gained the lead at 25-24 with 1:56 to play in the period, the Crusaders scored seven of the next eight points – kicked off by a triple from freshman Mileek McMillan (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville). But the lead would be just 31-29 at the break, as Ball State’s Jeremie Tyler hit a 3-pointer on the Cardinals’ final possession of the half.

Inside the Game

  • The loss was Valpo’s first in the last two seasons when leading at the half (previously 26-0).
  • It also was the first time the Crusaders have dropped back-to-back games during the regular season since the final two games of the 2013-14 regular season.
  • Valpo was playing without its leader in scoring, rebounding and steals in senior Tevonn Walker, who missed the game due to illness.
  • Burton led the Crusaders with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers, to pace the team for the second straight game.
  • Evelyn finished up with 14 points, five rebounds and six assists.
  • Smits came up just two points shy of his career high with 12 points and set a new career best with six free throws made while also pulling down six rebounds.
  • Golder, who made his first career start for Valpo, recorded eight points and seven rebounds.
  • Joseph provided a lift off the bench, playing 32 minutes while pulling down a career-high 11 rebounds – four of which came on the offensive end. He also scored eight points and handed out three assists.
  • Valpo connected on nine 3-pointers (9-for-22), its highest total since hitting 10 triples in the win over Southeastern Louisiana.
  • Led by the effort of Joseph on the glass, the Crusaders out-rebounded Ball State – which owned a +14 edge on the boards in its win at Notre Dame earlier this week – by a 39-33 margin.
  • The Cardinals shot just 33.3% in the first half (9-of-27), but raised that mark to 54.5% (18-of-33) in the second half to overcome the halftime deficit. Persons scored 15 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.
  • The last four meetings in the series between Valpo and Ball State over the last four seasons – all of which have been won by the home team – have been decided by a total of 13 points.

Next Up

Valpo (8-2) gets its second crack at a Big Ten opponent in a week’s time on Thursday evening when the Crusaders make the short trip to Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. to face Northwestern. Tip is slated for 7 p.m., and the game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for all the live coverage will be available via