An early scoreless drought which lasted nearly eight minutes was too much for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team to overcome Wednesday night in Lexington, Ky., as the Crusaders fell to #6/7 Kentucky by an 87-63 final.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders knocked down two of their first three field goal attempts and trailed just 6-4 at the first media timeout, as the two squads combined for 12 turnovers in the opening 4:02.
- The inside basket by Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) with 17:28 to go in the first half was Valpo’s last basket for over eight minutes, until a 3-point play by Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) at the 9:20 mark. In that stretch, Kentucky went on a 21-0 run with Valpo going 0-for-14 from the floor with three turnovers.
- Kentucky extended its first-half advantage to as much as 27 points at 37-10 with 6:05 to play in the half. The Crusaders responded with an 8-2 spurt, including a 3-pointer from Nick Davidson (Munster, Ind./Andrean), and cut the deficit to 19 points before Kentucky scored the final basket of the first half to send Valpo into the locker room trailing 45-24.
- Back-to-back baskets from Peters early in the second half got Valpo to within 48-30, but the Wildcats went on an 18-4 run over the next five minutes to put away the game. The Crusaders put together a late rally, still facing Kentucky starters and top reserves, to get to within 23 points down the stretch.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders finished the game shooting just 34.3% from the floor and 4-of-15 from the 3-point line, while Kentucky (7-1) shot 45.8% and 30.4%, respectively.
- Peters led the Crusaders with 23 points, 16 of which came in the second half, to continue his streak of scoring at least 20 in every game this season. The senior also added eight rebounds.
- Freshman Jaume Sorolla (Tortosa, Spain/Sunrise Christian [Kan.] Academy) enjoyed the best game of his young career, contributing eight points and nine rebounds – seven of which came on the offensive end – in 14 minutes off the bench.
- Walker finished with eight points and five rebounds, while senior Jubril Adekoya (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) chipped in seven points, six rebounds and three steals.
- While the Crusaders were out-rebounded by one of the nation’s best rebounding teams in Kentucky, 48-41, they did grab 18 offensive rebounds and convert them into 19 second-chance points.
Thoughts From Head Coach Matt Lottich
“I thought our guys never quit and I’m really proud of the effort that we showed. It’s a lot of emotion for us to come in here and play in an environment like this against a team of the caliber of Kentucky. I thought that we were a little rushed, a little fast the first half. I thought their pressure had a lot to do with that. The second half, I was proud of our boys and proud of our fight. I’ve said from day one that we have a resilient group and that I thought that they showed that tonight. There’s no doubt about it the Wildcats are a fantastic team and I know they’ve got some ambitious goals and they have the talent to achieve those goals. We learned a lot about ourselves, and there is some positives that we can take away from this game for sure.”
The Crusaders (7-2) look to rebound from Wednesday night’s loss on Saturday evening as they conclude their two-game road trip at Missouri State. Tip Saturday night is slated for 7:05 p.m., and the game can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. As always, it can be heard as well on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.