The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team carried the lead for much of the first half, but a seesaw second half saw the guests from IUPUI pull away in the closing minutes for a 66-56 victory on Friday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
How It Happened
- Both teams were scoreless in the early going until Cooper Schwieger (Overland Park, Kan. / Blue Valley Southwest [Link Year]) cracked the scoreboard with a jumper at the 17:50 mark to put Valpo in front, a lead the Beacons would hold throughout the first half.
- Senior Jerome Palm (Almere, Netherlands / Echnaton [Hillsborough]) had a pair of buckets in the early going including a shot at the 13:35 mark that extended the lead to eight at 12-4.
- The lead fluctuated between five and eight for most of the first half until the Jaguars cut to within four for the first time since the game’s early-stages to make it 23-19 with 2:27 left in the half.
- Valpo had a response as a tip-in dunk by Jaxon Edwards (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral [Murray State]) boosted the lead back to six at 25-19 with 1:54 on the first-half clock. However, IUPUI scored the half’s final basket to cut the halftime lead to four at 25-21. Valpo held the guests to 29 percent shooting and 0-for-6 from 3 in the first 20 minutes.
- Valpo owned the advantage early in the second half, but the Jaguars eventually tied it at 29 with 17:28 remaining. A second-chance triple by Bryce Monroe helped the guests take their first lead of the game at 34-32.
- Eventually an 8-0 run turned a 32-29 Valpo lead into a 37-32 IUPUI advantage with 12:10 to go. Valpo responded with a run of its own, going on a seven-point burst including a go-ahead jumper by Schwieger.
- IUPUI hit several big 3s after struggling from long range early in the game, as the two teams engaged in a seesaw affair late in the second half. Valpo took what proved to be its final lead on a basket by Sherman Weatherspoon IV (Bowie, Md. / Bethesda-Chevy Chase [Golden State Prep]) at the 5:50 mark of the second half.
- IUPUI scored the next seven points to take a 52-46 lead with just under four minutes to go. Valpo was within four with 2:17 remaining but a big 3 by Vincent Brady II opened the lead to seven. Stafford responded with a 3 of his own, but the Beacons could get no closer and the Jaguars built the final gap to double figures with late free throws.
Inside the Game
- Three Valpo players scored in double figures as Edwards, Schwieger and Stafford tallied 12 points apiece.
- Stafford did the bulk of his damage from the charity stripe, where he was a perfect 7-for-7.
- As a team, Valpo shot 84.2 percent from the free throw line, making 16 of their 19 attempts.
- It was a cold shooting night as Valpo hit just two of its 16 3-point tries.
- Palm gobbled up a career-high 12 rebounds, outdoing his previous best of 10 on Dec. 4, 2022 vs. Murray State. Four of his rebounds came on the offensive glass. He was one point shy of a double-double with nine points to go along with the 12 boards.
Postgame Press Conference
Click here for postgame press conference.
The Beacons (1-1) will continue the early-season, home-heavy stretch on Tuesday night as Green Bay comes to town for a 7 p.m. tip. For ticket information, visit valpoathletics.com/tickets.