Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East [Iowa State]) scored a career-high 31
points Friday evening, but it was not enough for Valparaiso, as the Crusaders
saw a ten-point halftime lead erased as Detroit prevailed 77-67 in Detroit,
Johnson knocked down ten
of 16 attempts from the floor despite going up against 6’10” Indiana transfer Eli Holman. Including among his ten field goals were his
first three 3-pointers of the season, as the redshirt junior was a perfect
3-for-3 from behind the arc. Johnson
also stepped up at the free throw line, hitting 8-for-10 from the foul stripe.
Valpo jumped out to a
quick 10-5 lead just over three minutes into the game thanks to five early
points from Johnson, as well as a 3-pointer by Michael Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) and
a layup by Howard Little (Chicago,
Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School). The
Crusaders would go scoreless from the field for the next six minutes, however,
scored the next nine points to take a 14-10 lead.
The Titans’ advantage was
still at 17-14 with eight minutes to go in the half when the Crusaders got on a
roll to head into the break, going on a 20-7 spurt over the half’s last two
segments to take a 34-24 lead into halftime.
Brandon Wood (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo [Highland C.C./Southern Illinois]) scored nine points during the
eight-minute stretch, while Johnson added six as part of the spurt.
An early second-half run
got the Titans back into the contest, as Detroit scored eight straight points
over four possessions to close what had been a 38-28 Valpo lead down to just
38-36. Detroit got within one at 40-39, but the
Crusaders responded with six straight points on layups by Little and Wood and
two free throws from Johnson to go up 46-39 with 10:45 remaining.
But the Crusaders would
give up points on each of Detroit’s
next eight possessions as the Titans took control. Early in the run, Valpo held the Titans at
bay by scoring baskets of its own, and two free throws by Johnson edged the
Crusader lead back up to 52-49 with 8:02 to play. A 3-pointer by Chase Simon tied things up on
the next trip for Detroit,
and two possessions later Simon hit another triple to give the Titans the lead
for good, as their 21-6 run over seven minutes put the game away in their
Wood joined Johnson in
double figures, hitting six of his ten shots from the field for 13 points. Little pulled down a team-high seven rebounds
in addition to his six points, while Matt
Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville) handed out four assists
without a turnover in 26 minutes of action.
Four of the five starters
(11-5, 4-1 Horizon) ended the game in double figures in the scoring column,
paced by an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double by Eli Holman. Thomas Kennedy scored 17 points, while Xavier
Keeling added 15 points and Simon 14.
Valparaiso (6-10, 1-3 Horizon) continues its weekend road
trip at Wright State on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.
CST. As always, the game can be heard
live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan
City; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso)
and can be seen on the Horizon League Network.
Valpo’s athletic website, www.valpoathletics.com,
will have links for live audio, video and statistics.