Valparaiso, Ind. - Despite draining 13, 3-pointers, Valpo fell to first-place UMKC 84-78. Dan Oppland led the Crusaders with 24 points, while Ron Howard added 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Mike English topped UMKC with 26 points, while Carlton Aaron scored 20 and grabbed eight rebounds.
Seth Colclasure tallied 11 points and five assists for Valpo (6-10, 2-2 Mid-Con) and Vincent Humphrey tied his career-high with 10 points and grabbed a career-best nine rebounds.
Both teams scorched the nets from 3-point range as Valpo was 13 of 19 (68 percent) from beyond the arc and UMKC was 8 for 9 from 3-point territory. Oppland made 4 of 5 from 3-point land and Colclasure was 3 of 5. Brandon Temple was 4 of 4 from behind the stripe for UMKC.
UMKC (5-7, 4-0), winners of five straight, complemented its outside shooting prowess with a strong inside game. Aaron, a 6'9", 322-pound center, scored 14 points in the second half, helping the Kangaroos to eight-point leads on three separate occassions in the final 20 minutes.
Perhaps the biggest shot of the game came from Temple who made a 3-pointer with 1:56 remaining to extend a 76-73 lead to 79-73. The trey also stopped a 5-0 Valpo run.
On the next possession, English produced perhaps the most significant defensive play of the contest as he blocked a shot inside the paint, giving UMKC another possession.
In a game that featured 15 lead changes, it was the 3-point shot that proved to be Valpo's main weapon. The Crusaders were 6 of 7 in the first half and added 7 treys in 12 attempts after intermission.
Oppland had an extraordinary first half, scoring 23 points, including all four of his 3-pointers. English had 18 first-half points and Temple made three treys in the first half as the Kangaroos held a 39-37 halftime advantage.
Temple finished with 16 points and transfers Quinton Day and Tim Blackwell continued their solid play. Day, who played his freshman year at USC, scored 14 points and dished out five assists, while Blackwell, a Creighton transfer, had a game-high eight assists. UMKC is 5-3 since Day and Blackwell became eligible after having to sit out Fall Semester in accordance with the NCAA transfer rule.
For the ninth time this season, Valpo played with eight scholarship players as Jimmie Miles missed his first game after suffering an injury against Oakland Monday. Senior point guard Ali Berdiel and sophomore center Kenny Harris are out indefinitely after suffering injuries.
Valpo has a week in between games and will resume action next Thursday, Jan. 20 at Chicago State beginning at 7 p.m.