The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team rallied from down by as many as 12 to take its first lead of the game with 5:48 remaining, but the Beacons could not put away visiting Southern Illinois as the Salukis prevailed 66-62 on Tuesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. Seniors Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) and Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) poured in 24 points apiece, but didn’t get enough help as no other Beacon tallied more than five points.
How It Happened
- Southern Illinois jumped out to an early lead by scoring the game’s first eight points to force a Valpo timeout at the 15:39 mark, an early deficit that proved pivotal in the game’s outcome.
- After trailing 12-4 early, it was Valpo’s turn for an 8-0 run to even the game at 12. Ibra Bayu (Flevoland, The Netherlands / Perkiomen) had a pair of baskets including a tip-in dunk, and then Bayu set up Krikke’s game-tying layup by swiping a steal.
- SIU quickly regained the lead and eventually had the gap back to eight by the time the game reached halftime.
- Valpo missed all nine 3-point tries in the first half, but SIU wasn’t exactly putting on a 3-point shooting clinic either, going 1-of-7 before the break.
- The guests scored the first four points of the second half to up the lead to 12, but the Beacons compiled another 8-0 burst to shrink the deficit to four, a run that was capped by a 3-pointer by Maximus Nelson (Appleton, Wis. / Appleton North), the team’s first make of the game from long range.
- The lead fluctuated between five and nine for most of the half, until Quinton Green (Columbus, Ohio / Homeschool [Cedarville]) hit a 3-pointer with 10:15 on the clock to trim the margin to four. A second-chance dunk by Krikke with 9:05 on the clock slimmed the gap to one at 48-47.
- With 5:48 remaining, King scored on an assist from Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) to give Valpo its first lead of the evening at 49-48. However, SIU scored the next 11 points to open the lead back to double figures at 59-49 by the 3:16 mark.
- Valpo showed no quit even when the lead went back to 10, cutting it all the way down to three by the game’s closing seconds, but SIU made a game-clinching free throw with five ticks remaining to hold on for the win.
Inside the Game
- Krikke became just the 11th player in program history to cross the 1,500 career point threshold on Tuesday night, finishing the evening with 1,507 career points. He is one point away from tying and two from passing Harry Bell (1984-88; 1,508) for a spot in the program’s all-time top 10.
- Krikke’s 24-point performance on Tuesday was his fourth straight game with 20+ points and his seventh straight with 19 points or more. He went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line to contribute to his point total. He has scored in double figures in 16 consecutive games and all 17 MVC contests.
- Speaking of double figure streaks, King’s reached 28 games on Tuesday as he scored 24 points. He is one double-figure output away from tying the program record shared by Alec Peters and Javon Freeman-Liberty for consecutive double-figure scoring outputs within the same season.
- King’s 24 points tied his MVC-only season high set on Jan. 17 vs. UIC and was two points shy of his overall career best of 26 set on Nov. 13 of this season vs. Western Michigan. He went 8-of-13 from the field and 8-of-9 at the stripe on Tuesday, tying his career high for made free throws in a game.
- Both teams went 2-of-14 from 3-point distance on Valentine’s Day (2/14).
- Green gobbled up a team-high 10 rebounds to tie his career high. This marked his second straight double-figure rebounding effort after his first of the season occurred on Saturday vs. Illinois State.
- Krikke rejected five shots, outdoing his previous career high of four that came on Feb. 9, 2022 at Illinois State. The last time a Valpo player swatted five shots in a game was Dec. 17, 2020 (Donovan Clay vs. Purdue Northwest) and the last time it occurred against a Division-I foe was Jan. 26, 2019 (Jaume Sorolla vs. Drake).
- The second half marked a significant improvement as Valpo shot 55.6 percent after the break compared to 26.1 percent in the first 20 minutes.
- Valpo slipped to 0-5 in MVC games that are either decided by fewer than five points or go to overtime.
Click here for postgame press conference.
Valpo (11-17, 5-12 MVC) will have its longest break between games of the Missouri Valley Conference slate as the team will next be in action on Sunday at UIC. The game will begin at 2 p.m. and will air on ESPN+.