From a late 14-0 run to an overtime buzzer-beater, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team found a variety of ways to win this week in Canada.
Those winning ways continued during Wednesday’s final stop of the Foreign Tour, as this time the team led from nearly start to finish in an 81-68 victory over UQAM in Montreal, Quebec. The hosts never led in a game that Valpo controlled throughout aside from a short-lived 5-5 tie in the opening quarter.
Sigurd Lorange (Trondheim, Norway / Metis Videregaende Skole) drained a triple at the 4:12 mark of the first to cap a 13-2 spurt and open up an 18-7 edge, Valpo’s first double-figure cushion of the day. By the time the opening quarter came to an end, the guests had widened the lead to 13 at 27-14.
Valpo dominated the early portion of the second quarter, opening up its largest lead of the night by the middle of the period at 40-18 after a 12-0 run enlarged what was already a double-figure cushion. The 12-point burst was capped by a Luke Morrill (Lombard, Ill. / Montini Catholic) 3-pointer and featured a stretch of three straight possessions where Javon Freeman-Liberty (Chicago, Ill. / Whitney Young) converted baskets for eight consecutive points.
Valpo owned a 44-30 halftime lead and the second half scoring was evenly-matched, accounting for the final 13-point margin. Zion Morgan (Chicago, Ill. / Kenwood [Wabash Valley/UNLV]) stuffed the stat sheet with a team-high 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals to go along with six points, while Donovan Clay (Alton, Ill. / Alton) led all scorers with 18.
Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) tallied 14 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting night while also squeezing seven boards. Daniel Sackey (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada / Thornlea) rounded out the trio of Valpo players who scored in double figures with a 10-point showing. As a team, Valpo shot 45.6 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from beyond the arc and 84.6 percent from the free-throw stripe.
Lorange, Morgan, Clay, Krikke and Emil Freese-Vilien (Copenhagen, Denmark / Falkonergardens Gymnasium) comprised an all-newcomer starting five for head coach Matt Lottich’s team on Wednesday.
After sweeping through the four-game Canada swing, the team will next compete in a game setting in a late-October exhibition.