The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team improved to 2-0 on the year as the Crusaders cruised to an 83-46 victory over Trinity Christian at the ARC on Monday night. With his first basket of the day, senior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) surpassed the 1,000-point milestone for his career.
How It Happened
- Trailing 11-10 eight minutes into the game, a 3-pointer from sophomore Micah Bradford (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) jump-started a 13-0 Crusader run over the next four minutes – a span which saw six different players score – as Valpo went ahead 23-11.
- As part of the run, Walker came up with a steal and went in alone for a one-handed fast-break dunk at the 11:00 mark. The slam propelled Walker, who entered the game with 999 career points, past the 1,000-point mark for his career.
- Valpo’s lead was 29-19 with 5:20 to play in the first half before the Crusaders extended out the advantage with nine straight points, including slam dunks from freshman Parker Hazen (Columbia City, Ind./Columbia City) and redshirt sophomore Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]). Valpo would take a 40-21 lead into the half.
- The Crusaders held the Trolls scoreless for the opening 5:28 of the second half, pushing the lead to 47-21 with seven straight points – capping an 18-2 run over a span of nearly 11 minutes which encompassed both sides of the halftime break. Valpo maintained at least a 20-point advantage the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Walker became the first Valpo player to surpass 1,000 points for his Crusader career since Alec Peters hit the milestone in the 2015 NCAA Tournament against Maryland.
- Walker led all players on Monday with 18 points and also came up with four steals – just one shy of his career high.
- Golder stuffed the stat sheet in Monday’s win. The redshirt sophomore tallied 17 points – 15 of which came in the second half – on 6-of-9 shooting, while adding four rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
- Walker and Golder were two of five Crusaders to record multiple steals on Monday, as Valpo tallied 16 steals as a team – their highest total since registering 17 steals last November in a win over Ball State. Freshman Marten Linssen (Dusseldorf, Germany/Schloss-Gymnasium Benrath) picked up three steals, while Bradford and fellow sophomore John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) recorded two apiece.
- Thanks in large part to the 16 steals, Valpo enjoyed a tremendous 33-2 advantage in points off turnovers in the win over the Trolls, as the Crusaders forced a total of 25 Trinity Christian turnovers.
- Redshirt sophomore Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) joined Walker and Golder in double figures, hitting all five of his field goal attempts as he finished with 10 points. Smits also set a new career best with eight rebounds.
- Kiser nearly posted a double-double in 15 minutes of action off the bench Monday night, finishing with nine points – including his second career 3-pointer – and nine rebounds. Both marks were new career highs for the sophomore.
- Valpo finished the game shooting 49.1% from the field (27-of-55) and was 22-of-30 (73.3%) from the foul line.
- The Crusaders out-rebounded the Trolls by nearly two to one, finishing with a 45-23 edge in the category. 16 of Valpo’s boards were of the offensive variety, leading to 18 second-chance points.
- Valpo ended the win with large advantages as well in points in the paint (36-6) and fast-break points (16-0). 10 of the Crusaders’ fast-break points came via the dunk, as Valpo recorded seven dunks total in the victory.
- Caleb Jonkman led Trinity Christian, an NAIA opponent playing Monday night’s game as an exhibition, with 13 points. The Trolls shot just 31.3% from the floor.
Valpo (2-0) faces its first road test of the year Wednesday night at SIU Edwardsville. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., and the game can be seen live on Fox Sports Midwest. As always, the game can be heard as well on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.