ValpoAthletics.com
Valpo Upends Oral Roberts 80-60 Monday

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dan Oppland (Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Valparaiso Crusaders to an 80-60 win over preseason Mid-Continent Conference favorite Oral Roberts Monday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

The double-double was the second of the year for Oppland, and the Crusader senior scored in double-figures for the 20th straight game, including all 13 this season. But on this night he had plenty of help, watching three of his teammates join him in double-digits, including an inspired 19 point, three rebound, three assist, three steal night from Ron Howard (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young).

The Crusaders, who had lost three straight to the Golden Eagles coming in, jumped ahead 10-2 early on five quick Oppland points. Then it was Caleb Green's turn, as the defending Mid-Con Player of the Year scored five straight to put ORU in front 16-13. After a Valpo timeout, the Brown and Gold went on a 22-4 run blow in front by as much as 15 before settling for a 38-28 lead at halftime. The Golden Eagles would not lead again in the game.

Early in the second half, Valpo again surged ahead quickly, extending their margin to 17 on a Moussa Mbaye (Dakar, Senegal/Life Center Academy) free throw with 16:24 remaining. But again ORU fought back, getting the lead down to nine with 11:05 to go, then fouling out Crusader big men Mbaye and Mohamed Kone (Lyon, France/Jean Paul Sartre) midway through the half.

With the score 54-45, the Crusaders went on another run, this time a 14-4 spurt, and iced the game on a Jarryd Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill./Niles West) three-pointer with 6:23 left. Loyd had a third straight terrific night, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-for-2 from deep, and handing out three assists. In his last three games, the sophomore is averaging 13.3 points, nearly 10 points more than his average before the streak began.

Ali Berdiel (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Andrean) was the fourth Crusader in double-figures, finishing with 10 points and three assists in 26 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Shawn Huff (Helsinki, Finland/Makelanrinne) had another solid bench effort, scoring nine points, seven in the second half.

For the game, Valpo shot 49.2% from the field and 8-of-15 from three-point range. In their last four games, all wins, the Crusaders have made 38-of-72 three-pointers (52.7%). The Brown and Gold had only 14 assists on 29 baskets, but committed a season-low nine turnovers. The Crusaders also out-rebounded Oral Roberts, statistically the league's best rebounding team, 39-34, led by Oppland's 11 and seven from Mbaye.

The Golden Eagles (8-8, 3-1 Mid-Con) had a three-game winning-streak snapped and made only 34.0% of their shots from the field, including 4-of-17 from three. ORU did make 20-of-28 free throws, including a school record night of 17-of-21 from the line for Green. The junior finished with 25 points and seven rebounds, both below his Mid-Con averages.

Valpo (9-4, 3-1 Mid-Con), winners of four straight, will close out a four-game homestand Wednesday night at 7:05 against IPFW. That game will be carried live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.

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