The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team erased an 11-point deficit and held the lead as late as the final minute on Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center, but visiting Charlotte came away with a 68-67 victory. The Beacons were led by 17 points from Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) and 16 from Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]), while Trevor Anderson (Stevens Point, Wis. / SPASH]) joined them in double figures with a dozen.
How It Happened
- Valpo barreled out to an 8-4 lead behind a pair of made 3-pointers by Edwards, but the 49ers rattled off the next six to go ahead 10-8.
- The game fluctuated between a slight Charlotte lead and a tie for much of the first half. With 4:30 remaining in the period, a frantic sequence culminated with an Anderson triple that beat the shot-clock horn. Thomas Kithier (Macomb, Mich. / Clarkston [Michigan State]) dove on the floor to rip free a loose ball, King saved it from going out of bounds by directing the ball toward Taylor, who tossed to Anderson for the trey. That basket tied the game at 23.
- The Beacons went into the break down 30-27 as Charlotte shot 50 percent from the floor and knocked down five of its eight 3-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes.
- Charlotte’s Robert Braswell hit a pair of big 3s early in the second half. He converted from distance with 15:41 on the second-half clock to make it 39-31, then did so again at the 15:11 mark to give the 49ers their largest lead at 42-31.
- Edwards had a key response by knocking one in from long range with 14:52 on the clock, and later a King layup on an Edwards assist whittled the deficit to four at 44-40. Anderson’s 3 made it 46-43 Charlotte with under 10 minutes to go in the half, but the guests stretched the lead back to eight on another Braswell 3 with 5:40 to go.
- Kevion Taylor (Milwaukee / Whitnall [Winona State]) drilled a massive 3 on an assist by Anderson with 3:50 left in regulation, then Edwards connected on the game-tying triple with 2:15 on the clock to make it 62-all. Taylor hit two free throws with 59 seconds left, and Valpo captured its first lead since 8-7 as those freebies capped an 8-0 run.
- Charlotte tied the game with 49 seconds to go, then came up with a steal and a fastbreak layup to regain the lead with 20 ticks remaining. Valpo had a chance for a putback layup to tie the game off a missed 3, but the 49ers blocked the second-chance shot and secured the rebound before hitting both portions of a one-and-one to extend the lead to four with three seconds remaining.
- King beat the buzzer with a miraculous heave from three-quarters court, but that last-second toss mattered not in the game’s outcome as the 49ers escaped with the one-point win.
Inside the Game
- King followed his collegiate career high of 19 on Tuesday vs. East-West with 17, his top output against a Division-I opponent. He went a perfect 6-of-6 at the foul line on Saturday, a career high for made free throws.
- Kithier collected seven rebounds, his fourth straight game and seventh time this season with six or more. He paced the team in rebounding for the seventh time this year.
- Anderson gave out four assists to co-lead the team, his fourth time this season with four or more helpers. He also scored in double figures for the seventh time in 11 games this season including the fifth time in the last six.
- Taylor shared the team lead in assists and equaled a season high with four while also swiping three steals. The three steals represented his highest total of the season and his third multi-steal effort in the last four contests.
- Edwards drained four 3s, his second most of the season and fifth time with three or more. His 16 points represented his ninth time in double figures this year in 11 outings. His six made field goals were also his second most of the year, behind the Nov. 24 game vs. Tulane.
- The Beacons posted a perfect 14-of-14 effort at the free-throw line, their first flawless performance at the charity stripe since going 5-of-5 on Feb. 7, 2018 at Evansville. This marked the team’s first perfect free-throw shooting day with at least 10 attempts since 14-of-14 on Nov. 17, 2016 at Oregon.
- Only five teams in the nation have had a perfect game at the free-throw line with more attempts than Valpo’s 14-of-14 showing on Saturday.
- This was Valpo’s first one-point game of the year and the team’s first game decided by the slimmest of margins since winning 66-65 on Feb. 21 of last season at Southern Illinois. This was Valpo’s first loss by a single point since Jan. 29, 2019, 55-54 in overtime vs. Missouri State.
- King made his first start in a Valpo uniform, while Edwards returned to the starting five after coming off the bench for each of the last seven games.
- Charlotte shot 51.1 percent from the field, the highest shooting clip by a Valpo opponent this season. The 49ers shot 64.7 percent from 3, the highest 3-point percentage by a Valpo opponent since Evansville went 9-of-12 on Nov. 20, 2013.
- Jahmir Young had 26 points for Charlotte, the most points scored by an individual Valpo opponent this season.
Postgame Press Conference
Click here for postgame press conference.
Valpo (5-6) will have the next eight days off from game action as the student-athletes turn their attention to final exams. The Beacons will host Eastern Michigan on Monday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. in their next contest. For ticket information, visit www.valpoathletics.com/tickets.