Quinton Green (Columbus, Ohio / Homeschool [Cedarville]) drilled 3-pointer after 3-pointer. Ibra Bayu (Flevoland, The Netherlands / Perkiomen) got to the rim for thunderous dunks. Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) knocked down 3s. Nick Edwards (Atlanta, Ga. / Grayson [Glenville State]) distributed the rock. Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) and Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) did their thing.
The big plays came on the offensive end. They came on the defensive end. They came in the first half. They came in the second half. They came from up and down the lineup. Simply put, this was your night, Valparaiso University men’s basketball. It all added up to a 71-51 victory at Illinois State – the team’s third consecutive win and largest margin of victory in a regular season Missouri Valley Conference game since joining the league.
How It Happened
- Valpo played from behind early as Illinois State jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Barrett came off the bench to hit a huge transition 3 at the 15:25 mark of the first half, and then Green connected from long range on the next Valpo possession.
- Illinois State owned a slight lead that fluctuated between one and six for most of the first half until the Beacons grabbed their first edge with 4:41 left in the first half after a steal and fastbreak dunk by Bayu to make it 21-20.
- The Bayu slam was part of a 13-0 run that transformed a 20-17 deficit into a double-figure lead when Green slammed home a dunk of his own at the 1:57 mark.
- The Redbirds closed to within six, but Barrett hit a big basket from 3-point territory with 21 seconds on the clock to account for a nine-point halftime edge at 33-24.
- Illinois State battled to within five early in the first half, but then Valpo ran off seven straight points including Bayu’s second transition dunk, once again created by his own steal.
- Valpo led by double figures for much of the second half and owned an 11-point advantage with 6:29 remaining. The Beacons scored the next five to up it to 16, and then the gap swelled to 17 when Green hit yet another 3 to make it 66-49 with 3:27 to go.
- Just for good measure, Green knocked in his sixth 3 of the night with 1:05 remaining to account for the game’s final score.
Inside the Game
- This marks Valpo’s first three-game winning streak of the season. Its last such streak occurred last season – a stretch that featured wins over Eastern Michigan, William & Mary and Illinois State in late December and early January.
- This is Valpo’s first three-game league-only winning streak since late January 2021 (at Illinois State twice, vs. Bradley). The Beacons have won back-to-back MVC road games for the first time since sweeping two at Illinois State on Jan. 23-24, 2020.
- This 20-point win marked Valpo’s largest margin of victory in a regular season Missouri Valley Conference game since joining the league. The team’s previous largest margin of victory in an MVC contest was 17 (2021 vs. No. 25 Drake, February 2020 vs. Southern Illinois, January 2018 vs. Drake).
- Valpo has won back-to-back league games by double figures for the first time since downing Bradley and Missouri State late in the 2020 regular season.
- Valpo has now won nine of the last 10 head-to-head matchups with Illinois State.
- Green led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 6-of-8 from 3-point distance. He outdid his previous season high of 20 that he had reached on Nov. 7 at Toledo and Nov. 19 vs. Incarnate Word. He was four points away from his overall career high of 30 that came in 2019 while playing for Division-II Cedarville.
- The six made triples represented a career high for Green including his time at Cedarville. Previously, he had made five 3s on five occasions, including three times this year. He became the first Valpo player with six made 3s in a game since Mileek McMillan on Feb. 19, 2020 at Drake.
- King had 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting, reaching double figures for the 21st straight game. Krikke had 10 points and eight rebounds, while Edwards tallied 10 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
- Sophomore Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) returned to action after missing the previous two games with a knee injury.
- Bayu had four points, five rebounds, three steals and a block.
- The Beacons shot a season-best 57.4 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from 3, also a season best. This was Valpo’s best single-game 3-point percentage since also converting at a 57.1 percent clip on Feb. 27, 2021 vs. Indiana State.
- Valpo’s field goal percentage defense of 33.9 was its best of the season.
Valpo (9-12, 3-7 MVC) will look to extend the winning streak to four on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at UNI in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.