A lights-out shooting performance and a dominant showing from start to finish helped the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team cruise to an 88-66 victory over William & Mary on Wednesday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Beacons shot 57.6 percent to make the holiday festivities a little merrier during the department’s Christmas at the ARC event.
How It Happened
- William & Mary did score the game’s first four points, but Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]) hit a 3 with 18:35 on the first-half clock to start the Beacon scoring. When Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) made a layup 35 seconds later to put Valpo on top 5-4, that established a lead that the hosts would not relinquish for the remainder of the afternoon.
- The run stretched to 10-0 when Kevion Taylor (Milwaukee, Wis. / Whitnall [Winona State]) connected on a 3 to make it 10-4 with 16:48 left in the first.
- A King layup on a second-chance opportunity followed by a Taylor free throw helped the Beacons open up their first double-figure lead with 8:34 to go in the first at 27-18.
- The Tribe fought back to within five, but Valpo ran off seven straight points to increase the edge to 39-24 with 4:14 remaining in the opening half. King and Trey Woodyard both swished 3s in the final four minutes of the half, and Valpo went into the break leading 50-36.
- Valpo continued to play well on the offensive end in the second half, and with 12 minutes remaining Taylor knocked down another trey to extend the lead to 70-51. A steal by Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) set up a fastbreak dunk by King with 6:53 to go to make it a 20-point game.
- Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) got in on the 3-point act with 5:55 on the clock, then Thomas Kithier (Macomb, Mich. / Clarkston [Michigan State]) slammed home a dunk that was set up by an Eron Gordon (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Seton Hall]) steal. Gordon added a 3 of his own moments later, the final Valpo basket of the game with 2:48 remaining.
Inside the Game
- This victory pushed Valpo above .500 as the Beacons own a winning record for the first time since the end of the 2019-20 season.
- The 22-point margin of victory was Valpo’s largest against a Division-I team since beating SIUE by that same differential on Dec. 9, 2020.
- Four Valpo players finished in double figures, led by King with 19. He was followed closely by Edwards, who achieved 17 points on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-5 from 3. Taylor (15) and Kithier (12) also surpassed the 10-point threshold.
- Valpo drained 12 3-pointers, tying a season high established on Nov. 24 vs. Tulane and matched on Dec. 7 vs. East-West. The Beacons converted at a 54.5 percent clip from long range, the team’s best percentage of the season. The squad’s previous top single-game 3-point percentage this year was 40 percent on Nov. 13 vs. UIC.
- The 3-point shooting percentage of 54.5 tied for the seventh-highest by any Missouri Valley Conference team in a single game this season. In addition, it marked Valpo’s best 3-point shooting showing since shooting 57.1 percent vs. Indiana State on Feb. 27 of last season.
- Valpo dished out 23 assists on 34 made baskets, the team’s highest assist total against a Division-I opponent since handing out 24 on Feb. 22, 2020 vs. Bradley.
- The 88 points were the team’s most in a D1 game since scoring 91 vs. Bradley on Jan. 28 of last season.
- Valpo garnered a season-high 12 steals, the team’s most since swiping 17 on Dec. 17, 2020 vs. Purdue Northwest and most against a D1 foe since 16 on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE. William & Mary’s 21 turnovers were the most by a Valpo opponent since Purdue Northwest’s 28 on Dec. 17, 2020 and the most by a D1 Valpo opponent since SIUE’s 25 on Dec. 9, 2020.
- The Beacons committed just eight turnovers for the second consecutive game. This marked the sixth time this season including the fifth time in the last seven games that Valpo has finished with fewer than 10 giveaways. This is the first time Valpo has had back-to-back games with eight turnovers or fewer since January 2015 (vs. UIC, vs. Cleveland State).
- Valpo has won four of its last five games and is 6-2 over its last eight.
- Taylor averaged 16.5 points per game over two outings this week and canned four triples in each game. He went a combined 12-of-17 (70.6%) shooting and 8-of-13 (61.5%) from 3 over the two games this week.
- The .700 percent shooting clip was a season high for Edwards and the second-best of his Valpo career. He matched a career high with seven made field goals, his third such performance overall and second this season (Nov. 24 vs. Tulane).
- King’s 19 points equaled his career high, which was established on Dec. 7 vs. East-West. King has scored 17 points or more in three of his first four Valpo games.
- Anderson dished out a season-high six assists, while Kithier collected six rebounds to pace the team on the glass for the eighth time this year.
- Kithier’s 12 points helped him snap out of a three-game stretch where he was held to six points or fewer in each contest. In addition, he swiped a career-high three steals on Wednesday.
Postgame Press Conference
Click here for postgame press conference.
Valpo (7-6) will enjoy a few days off for the Christmas holiday before returning to action on Tuesday, Dec. 28 vs. Prairie View A&M at the Athletics-Recreation Center. For ticket information, visit www.valpoathletics.com/tickets. Spectators are required to wear masks at all home Valpo athletic events until further notice.