Playing with his parents in attendance for the first time in his collegiate career, Valparaiso University men’s basketball standout Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) continued to play at an elite level, this time racking up a career-high 34 points on Sunday afternoon at Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago. Krikke’s effort could not quite get Valpo over the hump in a heartbreaking 74-73 loss to host UIC.
How It Happened
- The game got off to a zany start as both teams had 9-0 runs within the first four minutes of the contest. Valpo rattled off the day’s first nine points, a run that was capped by a Maximus Nelson (Appleton, Wis. / Appleton North) triple at the 17:22 mark.
- The Flames responded with a 9-0 burst of their own that came in less than a minute of game time. Three UIC 3s fell, including a pair by Jalen Jackson.
- Valpo held a 13-11 lead at the 13:00 mark, but UIC went on another 9-0 run to take a 20-13 lead. The final seven points of that run came during Krikke’s brief time on the bench, forcing Matt Lottich to use a timeout at the 9:21 mark of the half to get his star player back on the court.
- The UIC lead reached double figures at 30-19 with 6:38 remaining, but it was Valpo’s turn for a 7-0 run with a second-chance triple by Krikke slicing the deficit to three at 30-27 with 4:25 left in the half.
- Valpo again got back to within three points on a second-chance 3-pointer at the 2:46 mark, when Kobe King (La Crosse, Wis. / La Crosse Central [Wisconsin]) connected from distance. A fastbreak bucket by Quinton Green (Columbus, Ohio / Homeschool [Cedarville]) cut the deficit to one, but UIC had the lead back to five at 41-36 by the break.
- The UIC advantage was seven early in the second half, but Valpo ripped off eight straight points to go ahead 44-43 by making the team’s first five 2-point attempts of the half.
- The game was played within four points either way for an extended stretch in a back-and-forth affair. King hit a 3 on a Nick Edwards (Atlanta, Ga. / Grayson [Glenville State]) assist to make it 57-53 Valpo with 10:51 on the clock.
- Krikke made a go-ahead basket with 5:01 to go, and then scored on the next possession on another Edwards assist to put the team up 68-66. UIC tied the game at 68 before Nelson hit an enormous 3 with 2:28 to go to put Valpo on top 71-68.
- The game’s next four points were UIC free throws to put the Flames up one, then Krikke drained two freebies to have Valpo back on top with 44 seconds remaining.
- Carter scored with 30 seconds on the clock to put UIC up one. Nelson tried a go-ahead 3 with 19 seconds to go but misfired, and Valpo fouled with 14 seconds remaining. UIC missed both free throws to keep the door ajar, but Green’s contested layup was off the mark and his second-chance jumper was also no good before the final seconds ticked off.
Inside the Game
- Krikke’s 34 points outdid his previous career high of 31 that was set on Dec. 4 vs. Murray State.
- Krikke’s first basket of the day allowed him to pass Harry Bell (1984-88; 1,508) on the program’s all-time scoring list, moving into the career top 10. By the end of the day, Krikke had lifted his career point total to 1,541 and moved into eighth in program history. He surpassed Dick Jones (1965-68; 1,520) and Bruce Lindner (1967-70; 1,539) as well.
- Krikke’s 34 points were the second-highest single game scoring output by any Missouri Valley Conference player this season. The only greater effort came from Belmont’s Ben Sheppard, who scored 35 on Feb. 1, 2023 at Murray State.
- Krikke delivered the highest single-game scoring output by a Valpo player since Alec Peters had 35 on Dec. 22, 2016 vs. Santa Clara, a game that went to double overtime.
- Krikke had the highest scoring output by a Valpo player in a regulation game since Peters had 36 on Nov. 12, 2016 vs. Trinity Christian. This was the highest scoring output by a Valpo player in a road game since Peters had a career-high 39 on Jan. 10, 2016 at Detroit Mercy.
- Krikke is up to 567 points for the season, six away from reaching the program’s single-season top 10.
- Krikke also led the team with 10 rebounds, four of which came on the offensive glass. This was his second double-double of the season and first since the season opener on Nov. 7 at Toledo. It was Valpo’s fifth double-double of the year.
- This was the first “30&10” game by a Valpo player since Javon Freeman-Liberty on Nov. 12, 2019 at SIUE.
- Krikke’s career high 14 made field goals tied with Alec Peters’ 14 vs. Trinity Christian on Nov. 12, 2016 for the most by a Valpo player in the last decade. The 14 field goals were the most by any MVC player in a game this season.
- King registered 15 points and has been in double figures in all 29 games this season. With his performance on Sunday, he has tied a program record for consecutive double-figure scoring outputs within the same season, joining Alec Peters and Javon Freeman-Liberty.
- Edwards handed out eight assists, lifting his season total to 144. He is one assist away from cracking the program’s single-season top 10.
- Valpo slipped to 0-6 in MVC games that are decided by fewer than five points or go to overtime this season.
- This was Valpo’s first game decided by the slimmest of margins since Dec. 11, 2021, a 68-67 loss to Charlotte. The last one-point game in conference play was a 66-65 win at SIU on Feb. 21, 2021.
- UIC connected on nine of its 18 first-half 3-point attempts (50 percent), but cooled off to 18.2 percent (2-of-11) from long range after the break.
Valpo (11-18, 5-13 MVC) will close out the home portion of the season on Wednesday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center as Bradley will be in town for Senior Night, a game that begins at 6 p.m. For ticket information, visit valpoathletics.com/tickets.