Thievery was the order of the day for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team on Sunday, as the Crusaders approached a program record by tallying 17 steals in a 79-73 victory over Ball State at the ARC. Senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) led four Crusader players in double figures with a game-high 23 points.
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, but the Cardinals responded with nine points on three consecutive possessions to take the lead – a lead Ball State would hold throughout the first half.
- Ball State extended its lead to seven points on a trio of occasions late in the first half, but Peters knocked down all four of his free throw attempts in the final minute to draw the Crusaders within 33-30 at halftime.
- The Crusaders took their first lead since the opening minutes early on in the second half, as senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup to make it 37-36 Valpo with 16:51 to play.
- The Crusaders and Cardinals traded the lead a number of times over the next few minutes until a 3-point play from freshman Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) gave Valpo the advantage for good with 13:23 remaining. Smits’ 3-point play was part of a 9-0 Valpo run, capped by a 3-pointer from Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) with 12:19 to play to extend the lead to 51-44.
- Ball State made it a one –possession game twice around the midway mark of the second half, but both times Valpo responded to extend the lead – once on an inside finish by Hammink and the other on a 3-point play by Peters.
- Peters’ 3-point play at the 8:01 mark started a stretch where he would score the next 12 Crusader points. The stretch ended with a pair of free throws with 3:34 to play which extended the advantage to 67-57 Valpo. The Cardinals would get no closer than the final margin the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Valpo finished Sunday’s victory with 17 steals, forcing a total of 23 BSU turnovers. The 17 steals were just two off the program’s single-game record and are third-most in a single game in program history.
- Junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist) led the way for the Crusaders with six steals – just one away from his career high and program-record seven-steal performance earlier this year.
- Hammink set a new career high with four steals, while senior Jubril Adekoya (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) came up with four steals as well to tie his career best.
- On the offensive side of the ball, Peters led the way with 23 points – including his second consecutive 11-for-12 effort from the foul line. The senior – who also pulled down a team-best eight rebounds – has scored at least 20 points in each of the Crusaders’ first seven games.
- Peters has now made 365 free throws in his career, good for sixth in Valpo history and just 26 makes out of third place. He also now ranks fourth in program history, hitting at an 84.1% clip from the foul line.
- Hammink scored in double figures for the sixth time in seven games, finished with 16 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. Williams went 5-of-7 from the floor for 14 points, while Walker rounded out the quartet of Valpo players in double figures with 11 points.
- Williams added five rebounds and four assists as well, while Walker also pulled down five rebounds. Smits enjoyed the best game of his young career, scoring nine points and grabbing three rebounds in 13 minutes of action.
- The Crusaders continued to struggle shooting the 3-pointer at home this year, finishing just 4-for-17 from behind the arc, but also continued their tremendous early-season success at the foul line, going 21-of-25 from the charity stripe.
- Valpo scored 21 points off of the 23 Ball State turnovers, while the Cardinals scored just 10 points off of 14 Crusader turnovers.
- Francis Kiapway and Ryan Weber led Ball State (3-3) with 15 points apiece, while Trey Moses added 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Crusaders (6-1) welcome a nationally-ranked Rhode Island team into the ARC on Tuesday evening for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The Rams are the first ranked team to visit Valpo since #19/18 Purdue came to the ARC in December of 2010. The game can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app, and heard live on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for live video, audio and stats will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.