The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team, behind career-high scoring performances from senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) and junior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College), improved to 3-0 just four days into the 2016-17 season with a 78-58 victory over Coppin State at the ARC Monday night.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders never trailed on Monday, getting a layup from Joseph just 24 seconds into the game and a 3-pointer by senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) on their second possession.
- Valpo’s lead was five points at 15-10 nearing the midway point of the first half before the Crusaders put together a quick 10-0 spurt. The run started with baskets on three straight possessions by Joseph, Peters and senior Nick Davidson (Munster, Ind./Andrean), and Hammink capped it with four points as the Crusaders extended the advantage to 25-10 with 10:27 to play in the half.
- Coppin State scored the next 10 points, however, to close right back to within five, and was still within five with 4:48 to play in the half. But the Crusaders extended the lead out into double figures with a 13-1 run over the next 3:29 – including 3-pointers from Joseph, Hammink and freshman Micah Bradford (Bradley, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais). The lead going into halftime sat at 42-28 in the Crusaders’ favor.
- The lead remained right around the mid-teens for a good portion of the second half. With the score sitting at 60-44 with 6:49 to play, a 3-point play by Peters sparked an 11-2 spurt over the next three minutes. Peters and Hammink scored seven and four points, respectively, to account for all the points during the run, which pushed the lead to 71-46 with 4:02 remaining. The advantage was as much as 26 points down the stretch before the Eagles scored the game’s final six points.
Inside the Game
- Valpo has won each of its first three games this season by double figures, the first time a Crusader team has done that since the Gene Bartow-led 1967-68 squad.
- Valpo and Loyola are the only two teams in the nation sitting at 3-0 four days into the season.
- Hammink broke the 20-point plateau for the first time in his career, leading the way with a career-best 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting. The senior also went 6-of-7 from the foul line and pulled down seven rebounds.
- Meanwhile, Joseph set a new career high for the second time in three games this season. The junior missed just one shot from the field, hitting six of his seven attempts, to finish with 15 points while matching his career high with 35 minutes played.
- Despite struggling with his shot, Peters finished the night with 20 points – including a perfect 5-of-5 mark from the foul line. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
- Bradford joined the aforementioned trio in double figures for the first time in his career, scoring 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench while also pulling down five boards.
- The Crusaders shot just 20.8% from 3-point range for the game, but again were efficient at the foul line, going 17-of-21 from the charity stripe.
- Terry Harris led three Coppin State (0-2) players in double figures, scoring 15 points. The Crusaders limited the Eagles to just 29.8% shooting from the field and just 3-of-20 from 3-point range.
The Crusaders (3-0) hit the road for the first time this year with a tough test at #4/4 Oregon on Thursday evening at 8 p.m. CT. The game can be seen live on the Pac-12 Network and heard live on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.