Dan Oppland's (Saint Louis, Mo./Whitfield) monster 23 point, seven rebound effort was good enough for a spot on the All-Tournament Team, but not enough for a Crusader win, as Valpo fell 72-59 to #14 Iowa Saturday night in the Championship Game of the Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa.
Oppland followed up a 22-point, eight rebound semi-final performance with Saturday's effort, making shots from all over the court against the Hawkeyes, statistically one of the nation's toughest defenses. The senior has now scored at least 20 points in eight straight games, and is averaging 23.3 points/game this season.
Valpo cut a seven-point halftime deficit to three early in the second half, but Iowa quickly opened it back up and led by at least seven most of the final twenty minutes. With the score 54-47, the Hawkeyes went on a quick six point spurt to ice the ballgame. Mike Henderson had 10 second-half points for Iowa, who wins their tournament for the 23rd time in the 24-year history of the event.
The Hawkeyes started the game hot from the outside, making four quick three-pointers and building a 19-11 lead midway through the first half. Iowa led by as much as 11, but Oppland kept the Crusaders in it, scoring 15 of Valpo's 27 first half points, and the Brown and Gold went into the locker room down 34-27.
Mohamed Kone (Lyon, France/Jean Paul Saltre) had another strong showing, scoring 10 points to go with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in the Championship Game. Jeff Horner led Iowa with 19 points, and joined teammates Greg Brunner and Adam Haluska on the All-Tournament Team. Horner was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
In the third place game, Fairfield (1-4) picked up their first win of the season, defeating Tulane (1-4) 80-68. Fairfield's Michael Van Schaick and Tulane's Andrew Garcia were also named to the Hawkeye Challenge All-Tournament Team.
The Crusaders (3-1) will return to action Wednesday night in Milwaukee, Wis. when they take on Marquette at 7:05 p.m. That game can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.