The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team made its home debut in MVC play on Sunday afternoon at the ARC, but preseason favorite Missouri State spoiled the Crusaders’ home opener as the Bears sent Valpo to a 67-50 defeat.
How It Happened
- Valpo went shot-for-shot with Missouri State in the early stages of the game, taking a pair of one-point leads early on. A tip-in from sophomore Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) seven minutes into the game tied the game at 11-all.
- Missouri State responded with consecutive 3-pointers to take the lead for good. A fast-break basket by sophomore Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]) and a short-range jumper from senior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) cut the Bears’ advantage to two points at 17-15 with 9:59 left in the half.
- The Crusaders would go over six minutes before their next basket, however, as Missouri State reeled off 13 straight points to go up 30-15. A pair of free throws by Smits with 45 seconds to play in the half brought the Crusaders within 37-21 at the break.
- Missouri State pushed its lead out over the first 10 minutes of the second half, out-scoring Valpo 19-8 over stretch to go ahead 56-29. The Crusaders out-scored the Bears 11-2 over the next six minutes, including eight points from Joseph, but could get no closer than the final margin.
Inside the Game
- Missouri State ended the Crusaders’ 13-game home winning streak, which dated back to January 6, 2017 and ranked 10th nationally for the longest active streak.
- The consecutive losses to start conference play are the first by a Valpo team since the 1999-2000 season.
- Valpo used its sixth different starting lineup in the last seven games and its seventh total on the season Sunday. Freshman Mileek McMillan (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) made his first career start as 10 players on the Crusader roster have now started at least one game this year.
- Joseph paced the Crusaders in scoring for the second time in the last three games, ending the game with 13 points – 11 of which came in the second half.
- Joseph also led Valpo on the boards for the second straight game and the fourth time this year, grabbing five rebounds. The matchup of the top two teams in terms of rebounding margin in The Valley ended with Missouri State holding a 40-31 advantage on the glass.
- Senior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) added 11 points, while Smits chipped in 10 points in 19 minutes off the bench – his fifth double-digit output of the season.
- Valpo struggled shooting the ball on Sunday, finishing just 34.8% from the floor (16-of-46) and hitting just 5-of-19 from 3-point range.
- The Crusaders limited Missouri State to 39% shooting (23-of-59), including just a 28.6% clip (8-of-28) from 3-point range. But the Bears went 13-of-15 from the foul line, committed just nine turnovers and turned 12 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points.
- Jarrid Rhodes led four Missouri State (12-3, 2-0 MVC) players in double figures with 15 points as he went 5-of-9 from the 3-point line.
Valpo (9-6, 0-2 MVC) looks to earn its first Valley win Wednesday evening at Bradley. The 7 p.m. tipoff can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3 and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for all the live coverage will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.