Less than 24 hours after tallying six blocks in the Crusaders’ win at IPFW, senior Vashil Fernandez (Kingston, Jamaica/Princeton Day [Md.] Academy) set a new program single-game record with eight blocked shots as Valparaiso rolled to a 82-55 victory over Goshen Sunday afternoon at the ARC. The Crusaders improved to 12-2 on the season with the win.
Fernandez blocked three shots in the first half and then blocked two shots within the first four minutes of the second half. Still stuck at five blocks as the clock approached six minutes to play, the senior made one final push, blocking shots on three out of the next five Goshen trips to set a new Crusader single-game mark with eight rejections. Fernandez broke the previous record of seven blocks in a game, accomplished three times, including once himself last season. Of the top-nine single-game blocked shot efforts in Valpo history, Fernandez owns four of them, three of which have come in the last ten games.
Offensively, it was once again sophomore Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) standing out for the Crusaders. But this time, it was the opposite of Peters’ performance on Saturday, as after being held scoreless in nine foul-plagued first-half minutes at IPFW, the sophomore poured in 13 points inside the game’s first five minutes against Goshen. Peters would not score the remainder of the half, but came out of the locker room strong, scoring eight points in the first three-plus minutes of the second half. Peters ended the night with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including four 3-pointers, in just 21 minutes of action.
Peters led the way as the Crusaders ran out to a superb start, leading 17-0 4:46 into the ballgame. Fernandez flushed home a dunk on the first possession of the game, and junior Darien Walker (Chicago, Ill./Simeon [John A. Logan/Arizona Western]) added a putback before Peters’ run of 13 consecutive points. Goshen finally got on the board courtesy of a 3-pointer from Billy Geschke six minutes into the contest.
The Crusaders extended their lead to 20 points less than eight minutes into the game, as senior David Chadwick (Charlotte, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy [Rice]) finished a fast break with a layup. But Goshen would not go away, scoring the next eight points to close within 12, and cutting the deficit to single digits at 31-22 with 4:12 to play in the half. Valpo would score seven of the final ten points of the half, however, to take a 38-25 lead into the locker room.
The Crusaders put the game out of reach right out of the locker room at the start of the second half, going on a 15-5 run over the first 5:16 of the period to pull out to a 53-30 advantage. Peters had eight of Valpo’s points during the spurt, while freshman Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) added four as well. Goshen would get no closer than 19 points the rest of the way.
Peters was joined in double figures by Tevonn Walker and junior Keith Carter (Maywood, Ill./Proviso East [Saint Louis]), both of whom finished with ten points. Both handed out four assists as well, while junior E. Victor Nickerson (Atlanta, Ga./Norcross [Charlotte]) and freshman David Skara (Zadar, Croatia/Ekonomska Skola Zadar) joined them with four assists apiece as the Crusaders tallied 23 assists on 29 baskets, going 29-of-54 (53.7%) from the floor.
Darien Walker grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, while Fernandez pulled down eight boards and Skara added seven caroms off the bench as Valpo out-rebounded Goshen 48-29. The Crusaders ended the night with ten blocked shots, eight of which came courtesy of Fernandez.
Goshen was led by ten points off the bench from Geschke, including a pair of 3-pointers. All 12 Maple Leafs who got into the game scored at least one point. Valpo limited Goshen to just 30.4% shooting from the field.
Valparaiso (12-2) takes a few days off for Christmas before returning to action for its final non-league game of the season next Monday, December 29 at James Madison. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. CT, and as always, all the action can be heard live on the Valpo Sports Network. Links for live audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.