Valparaiso, Ind. - Freshman Jarryd Loyd's free throw with 1.8 seconds left lifted Valpo past Wisconsin-Milwaukee 72-71. The victory was the Crusaders' first of the season, while the Panthers suffered their first loss in seven games.
Dan Oppland led four Valpo players in double figures with 20 points. Ron Howard added 13, while Jimmie Miles and Seth Colclasure netted 12 each. Valpo (1-5) was red-hot from 3-point range, draining 9 of 12 from beyond the arc in the first half and finishing with 10 of 16 (63 percent) overall.
The Crusaders were shorthanded as starters Ali Berdiel, Kenny Harris and key reserve Shawn Huff were sidelined with injuries.
In a game that was close throughout, Valpo took a 67-61 lead with 4:12 remaining on Oppland's two free throws. UW-Milwaukee (6-1) trimmed the lead to one on two separate occasions - the last at 69-68 with 1:18 left on a basket by Joah Tucker.
After Valpo center Moussa Mbaye made a layup off a pass from Colclasure with 25 seconds remaining, the Panthers tied the game at 71-71 on Boo Davis' 3-pointer from the right corner with six seconds left.
Loyd then took the inbounds pass and raced up to halfcourt where he was fouled by Chris Hill with 1.8 seconds remaining. Valpo was already in the two-free throw bonus and Loyd missed the first charity toss before UWM called timeout. Loyd calmly swished the second free throw before Adrian Tigert's three-quarter court pass was intercepted by Mbaye as the horn sounded.
The game featured seven ties and nine lead changes- eight of which occurred in the first half. Behind the nine 3-pointers, including three by Colclasure, the Crusaders took a 36-35 lead with 3:57 left before halftime after UWM had gained a seven-point advantage two minutes earlier. Colclasure and Miles hit consecutive treys before Davis and Tigert scored two points each during a 4-0 run to help the Panthers regain a two-point lead. Colclasure's two free throws with 1:24 left produced a 41-41 score at halftime.
Valpo, which shot 54 percent in the first 20 minutes, maintained its productivity and held the lead for most of the second half. Oppland's two free throws broke a 48-48 tie with 16:05 remaining and the Crusaders extended their lead to seven (65-58) with 5:04 left on Howard's well-defended 3-pointer from left of the top of the key.
Ed McCants' 3-pointer with 2:39 left cut UWM's deficit to 67-64 and Tucker dropped in a layup to complete a 5-0 run at the 2:28 mark. Oppland then added two free throws to push the Valpo lead back to three to set up the exciting final minute.
Oppland, who scored 25 points in Thursday's loss to Indiana State, converted 11 of 13 free throws. The 6'8" junior added seven rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot.
Miles and Howard (3 steals) each made two, 3-pointers. Mbaye, who received his first start, was 4-of-4 from the field for eight points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Loyd tied Oppland with a team-high four assists.
Valpo finished shooting 49 percent (21-43)overall, while limiting UWM to 39 percent. The Panthers struggled from 3-point territory, draining 9 of 32 (28 percent). The Crusaders made 80 percent (20-25) of their free throws to UWM's 10-14 (71 percent).
Tucker topped UWM with 20 points and seven rebounds, while McCants added 14 and Davis had 12.
Valpo hosts Northwestern State (La.) on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. All students who attend the game will receive free pizza.