The holidays will be a little jollier for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team after a second consecutive victory as part of Community Day at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Wednesday. The community Christmas celebration featured a victorious effort as Valpo defeated Stonehill 77-67 in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score would indicate. Nick Edwards (Atlanta, Ga. / Grayson [Glenville State]) posted a double-double of 20 points and 12 assists to lead four Beacons in double figures in the scoring department.
How It Happened
- Valpo set the tone early, racing out to a 9-2 lead when Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) scored seven straight points including a 3-pointer at the 16:18 mark. Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper) had a dunk for the first basket of the game.
- The hosts made it a rout early by boasting a 13-point advantage at 17-4 midway through the first half after a layup by Krikke capped an 8-0 run.
- Freshman Maximus Nelson (Appleton, Wis. / Appleton North) drilled a 3 with 5:31 left in the first half to up the lead to 27-14.
- In the closing seconds of the first stanza, Quinton Green (Columbus, Ohio / Homeschool [Cedarville]) connected from long range to lift the lead to 16 at 36-20.
- The lead reached 21 early in the second half and got up to 22 at the half’s midway mark. With 5:15 remaining, Valpo held a 26-point cushion. The Skyhawks made a late run against the end of the Beacon bench, cutting a 19-point lead to 10 over the final 1:18. One late highlight came in the form of a Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn. / Hopkins [Wisconsin]) dunk on a Joe Vick (Kouts, Ind. / Kouts) assist with 25 seconds remaining.
Inside the Game
- Edwards went off in the second half, scoring 18 of his 20 points after the break on 6-of-7 shooting. He totaled 12 assists for the game, his second straight game with a dozen assists or more (13 vs. Elon on Sunday).
- Prior to this week, the last time a Valpo player had 12 assists or more in a single game was Bryce Drew on Jan. 21, 1995 vs. Eastern Illinois. Now, Edwards has turned the trick in consecutive contests.
- Edwards achieved Valpo’s second double-double of the season and first since Krikke had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Nov. 7 season opener at Toledo.
- Edwards became just the 11th player in the nation with a 20-point, 10-assist game this season. He became the first player in the nation to notch 20 or more points and 12 or more assists in a game this year. The last time that happened nationally was Yuri Collins of Saint Louis on Feb. 2, 2022 at George Mason. No Missouri Valley Conference player had achieved that feat in the last decade prior to Wednesday.
- Edwards had Valpo’s first “20&10” game since Kobe King on Feb. 5, 2022 vs. Indiana State (24 points, 11 rebounds).
- Edwards posted the first points-assists double-double by a Valpo player since Ron Howard (15 points, 10 assists) on Jan. 24, 2005.
- Edwards also swiped four steals and collected six rebounds. He became just the second player in the nation this season with 20 or more points, 10 or more assists, five or more rebounds and four or more steals, joining UConn’s Tristen Newton (Nov. 15 vs. Buffalo).
- King finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, sharing the team lead on the glass with Green. King has tallied double figures in all 13 games this season including 11 outputs of 15 points or more.
- Green (11) and Krikke (10) made it four Beacons in double figures.
- Head coach Matt Lottich garnered his 103rd career victory on Wednesday. That helped him move past J.M. Christiansen for sole possession of third place on the program’s all-time wins list. He trails only Homer Drew (371) and Bryce Drew (124).
- Valpo shot an even 50 percent from the field and nailed 10 triples for the second straight outing with four different shooters converting multiple 3-pointers.
- Vick made his collegiate debut and took a charge while also handing out an assist in his 1:18 of run.
- Speaking of walk-ons, former Valpo walk-on player as well as student manager, graduate assistant and Director of Basketball Operations Jason Karys returned to the ARC on Wednesday as a Stonehill assistant coach.
Valpo (6-7) will open the continuous portion of Missouri Valley Conference play on Thursday, Dec. 29 at Drake. The game will tip at 8 p.m. CT and will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.