The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team got back on the winning track Sunday afternoon at the ARC, putting together one of its best offensive performances of the year in an 81-74 victory over Detroit Mercy. Senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) matched his career high with 23 points. Junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) and senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) both posted double-doubles, while Peters also matched Bryce Drew’s Valpo record for career field goals made with his final basket of the game.
How It Happened
- Valpo held an early 12-7 lead less than five minutes into the game, but Detroit Mercy scored nine straight points over the next three minutes.
- The Crusaders responded with a 13-3 spurt over the next 4:23 to pull ahead by six points – a run which featured nine consecutive Valpo points from junior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College).
- The Titans took their final lead of the game with 6:42 to play in the first half at 27-26, but senior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) answered with five straight points on Valpo’s next two trips as the Crusaders took the lead for good – eventually holding a 39-33 lead at halftime.
- Valpo maintained a lead in the high single digits for much of the second half and used an 8-0 run to pull ahead 67-52 with 7:23 to play, but the Titans answered with eight straight points of their own over the next two minutes to keep the game within reach.
- Five points in 25 seconds for Detroit Mercy brought the Titans within four points with 1:59 remaining, and a 3-pointer by Chris Jenkins 19 seconds later cut Valpo’s advantage to 73-70. But senior Shane Hammink (Millingen aan de Rijn, Netherlands/Oakley College [LSU]) responded with a three-point play on the Crusaders’ next possession, and Walker knocked down five of six free throw attempts down the stretch to close out the win.
Inside the Game
- The Crusaders took full advantage of 31 fouls called against the Titans, going 33-for-42 (78.6%) from the foul line for the game. While the percentage was actually slightly lower than the team’s season-to-date mark from the stripe, the number of makes from the foul line tied a season high.
- Both Hammink (14-of-15) and Walker (12-of-14) set new career highs for free throws made.
- Valpo only had 42 field goal attempts, easily its fewest as a team this season, but went 22-of-42 (52.4%) from the floor – including a sterling 18-for-27 (66.7%) mark from inside the 3-point line. It marked just the third time this season the Crusaders have hit at least 50% from the field.
- Hammink matched his career high with 23 points for the fourth time this year, while Walker joined him above the 20-point threshold with 21 points – his third 20-point effort of the season.
- Walker also set a season best with 10 rebounds – nine of which came on the defensive end – for his first double-double of the year and tallied a new career high with five steals.
- Despite taking just nine shots from the floor, Peters totaled 17 points (7-9 FG) and 11 rebounds for his seventh consecutive double-double. The senior also added four assists for the third time in the last four games.
- Peters’ tip-in with 8:30 to play was his seventh basket of the game and his 696th career made field goal, tying him with Bryce Drew for the most field goals made in a Crusader career.
- Freshman Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) knocked down all three of his field goal attempts in an eight-point effort, while junior Lexus Williams (Chicago, Ill./Marist) finished with six points, six rebounds and six assists.
- Jenkins registered a double-double to lead Detroit Mercy (2-14, 0-4 Horizon), finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Titans were 12-of-27 from the 3-point line, but went just 17-of-44 from inside the arc.
The Crusaders (12-4, 2-1 Horizon) take their first overnight road trip in nearly a full month this week, as they make the swing through northeastern Ohio. First up for Valpo will be Youngstown State on Thursday night, Jan. 12. Tip is slated for 6:45 p.m. CT, and as always, the game can be seen live on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app and heard on the Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WVLP, 103.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live coverage will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.