The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team dropped the second game of a back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference weekend series on Sunday afternoon, falling 78-68 to visiting Missouri State at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Valpo held Isiaih Mosley to three points on just 1-of-5 shooting in the opening half, but the conference’s leading scorer went off for 26 points on 10-of-11 from the field after halftime to lift the Bears (8-1, 5-1) to their eighth win in nine games.
How It Happened
- Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) scored the game’s first four points to help his team out to a strong start as the two teams went back-and-forth early. Valpo capped a spurt of seven-straight points with a go-ahead triple by Eron Gordon (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Seton Hall]) with 13:34 to go in the first half, pushing the Brown & Gold ahead 13-10.
- Valpo led 16-14 after a three-point play by Jacob Ognacevic (Sheboygan, Wis. / Sheboygan Area Lutheran) at the 12:03 mark, but the Bears responded with a 20-4 spurt to open up a 14-point cushion with 5:35 on the clock. Valpo sliced the lead to nine by halftime, but went into the break trailing 38-27 despite Gordon leading all scorers through 20 minutes with 12 points.
- An 8-0 run by the Bears early in the second half doubled an eight-point edge to 16 at 48-32 with 16:53 remaining. The visitors held a double-figure lead for the next eight minutes as Mosley began to take over, but four straight Valpo free throws (three made) thanks to both a common foul and technical foul assessed against Missouri State helped Valpo take a bite out of the deficit, which slimmed to seven with 9:23 to go.
- Ognacevic slammed home a dunk on an assist by Daniel Sackey (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada / Thornlea) to cut the MSU lead back to single figures at 60-51 with 8:17 remaining. Later, a three-point play by freshman Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy] with 3:36 on the clock again decreased the deficit to seven, but Valpo could get no closer, as Missouri State held on for the 10-point victory.
- The Bears nearly replicated their first-half shooting success from Saturday in the second half on Sunday, hitting at a 65.2 percent clip including 13-of-16 on 2-point baskets.
Inside the Game
- Valpo boasted four players in double figures, led by Ognacevic and Gordon with 13 points apiece. Gordon paced the team in scoring for the first time in his Valpo career, while Ognacevic did so for the second time during his freshman season.
- Gordon’s scoring output represented a season high, his top performance since Feb. 22 of last season, when he scored 13 vs. Bradley. Gordon was three rebounds away from a double-double as he pulled down seven, one shy of his career high from this year’s season opener at Vanderbilt.
- Ognacevic’s 13 points came on 4-of-7 shooting in just 12 minutes of action.
- Edwards surpassed nine points for the second straight day with 10 points. He has scored in double figures on four occasions this season.
- Krikke scored 12 points to finish in double figures for the eighth time in the season’s first 10 games.
- Sackey sent out a team-high six assists while also going 5-of-6 at the free-throw line and swiping a pair of steals.
- Missouri State’s Gaige Prim posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds to go along with Mosley’s 29-point performance. Mosley’s 26 second-half points marked the most by a Valpo opponent in a single half since Reggie Hamilton of Oakland had 28 in the second half on Dec. 17, 2011.
- Valpo was held to a season-low 35.4 percent shooting, but did haul in 11 offensive rebounds, snapping a streak of three straight games with five or fewer.
Valpo (3-7, 0-2 MVC) will visit Southern Illinois for a pair of games this coming weekend, with the series beginning on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Carbondale. The game will be broadcast on The Valley on ESPN (ESPN3/+) as part of the conference-selected Valley on ESPN exclusive package in addition to airing on 95.1 FM Valparaiso and the Valpo Athletics TuneIn app. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.