The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team put a final exclamation mark on a victorious Thanksgiving week on Saturday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
After taking two of three to earn third place in the Nassau Championship in Nassau, The Bahamas earlier in the week, Valpo dispatched visiting Trinity Christian 106-69 on Saturday night as Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) led four Beacons in double figures with a career-high 26 points. All 13 Valpo players who saw action scored in the lopsided victory.
How It Happened
- Valpo sprinted out to an 8-0 lead out the gate. A fastbreak dunk by Krikke capped the early run.
- Back-to-back jacks from long range by Trinity Christian’s Braxton Barhizer caused a 10-2 lead to shrink to 10-8 at the 14:58 mark of the opening half. The lead fluctuated between three and five for several minutes before Valpo’s 7-0 run punctuated by a Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]) transition 3 stretched the gap to double figures at 27-17 with 9:48 left in the first half.
- Thomas Kithier (Macomb, MIch. / Clarkston [Michigan State]) slammed one home with 9:03 on the clock, and later Trevor Anderson (Stevens Point, Wis. / SPASH [Wisconsin]) and Kevion Taylor (Milwaukee, Wis. / Whitnall [Winona State]) hit consecutive 3s to bolster the cushion to 17 at 39-22 with 4:35 to go. By halftime, the hosts held a 47-26 advantage.
- Krikke made three consecutive baskets early in the second half to increase the edge to 61-34 with 16:36 on the clock.
- The Beacons did not miss a shot from the 12:27 mark to the 7:29 mark, making six straight field goal tries during that stretch. That included several memorable ones, with Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn. / Hopkins [Wisconsin]) stepping out to knock down a 3-pointer and Keyondre Young (Del City, Okla. / Del City) elevating for a dunk that made it 92-53 with 7:07 remaining.
- A 3 by Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) allowed Valpo to surpass the century mark with 2:16 to go, making it 101-62. Walk-on Luke Morrill (Lombard, Ill. / Montini Catholic) hit a pair of free throws with 1:40 remaining, then fellow walk-on Brock Pappas (Valparaiso, Ind. / Washington Township) notched the first point of his collegiate career at the foul line with 1:21 to go.
Inside the Game
- Krikke has scored 25 points or more three times in his collegiate career, and two of them have come this week. After matching a career high in his season debut on Monday vs. Jacksonville State, the 6-foot-9 junior surpassed that mark with 26 points on 12-of-15 shooting on Monday, tying a career high for made field goals (Jan. 24, 2021 at Illinois State).
- Krikke added a career-high three steals and blocked a shot, achieving all that while playing only 15 minutes.
- Anderson tallied 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting while adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
- Young reached double figures for the first time in his young collegiate career with 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
- Edwards chipped in 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and a steal. The five assists represented a career high. He scored in double figures for the eighth consecutive game dating back to last year including all seven this season.
- Freshman Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) and sixth-year Eron Gordon (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Seton Hall]) squeezed six rebounds apiece, a total that represented a season best for the rookie from north of the border.
- Morrill and Pappas both made their season debuts, and for Morrill this represented his first game action since Feb. 25, 2020. Morrill boosted his career point total to seven, while Pappas notched his first point.
- Hedstrom’s nine points marked a career high as did his three rebounds and four made field goals.
- The 106 points accounted for Valpo’s highest total since 121 on Nov. 6, 2018 vs. Concordia Chicago. The 37-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest since beating Judson by 40 (85-45) on Dec. 6, 2020.
- The Beacons set season highs in field goal percentage (56.2), rebounding margin (+22), assists (28) and steals (11). The rebounding margin was the team’s best since also going +22 vs. SIUE last season. The field goal percentage was the squad’s highest since shooting 58.6 percent on Feb. 25, 2020 vs. Missouri State. The assist total was the team’s highest since racking up 29 on Nov. 27, 2019 vs. Trinity Christian.
- The 28 assists rank tied for the 25th most in a single game nationally this season.
Valpo (3-4) will visit Drake on Thursday night for an 8 p.m. tipoff in a nationally-televised game on ESPNU to open Missouri Valley Conference play. The game will also air on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, ValpoAthletics.com and the TuneIn radio app.