The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team posted season highs for made 3-pointers and assists in another strong offensive performance on Wednesday night at the ARC, taking down first-place Drake by a 77-60 final for its second straight victory.
How It Happened
- For the first time in MVC play, it was Valpo which jumped out to a quick early advantage, as back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore Bakari Evelyn (Detroit, Mich./ Hillcrest Academy/Southfield Christian [Nebraska]) sent Valpo into the first media timeout with a 12-5 advantage.
- The second 4-minute stretch was highlighted by a pair of triples from senior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College), and just a couple minutes later, senior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) connected on two 3-pointers in a span of three possessions as Valpo led 27-18 midway through the first half.
- Walker and sophomore Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) combined for 12 straight Crusader points, including nine in just four possessions, as Valpo led 39-28 with 4:30 to play in the half.
- Drake would score the next five points and was still within six points with 90 seconds to play in the first period, but Joseph found Walker on the press break for a layup and then hit Walker for a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first half to give Valpo a 46-35 advantage at halftime.
- The Crusaders pushed the lead up to 15 points twice early in the second half, but Drake would fight back, limiting Valpo to just two points in a six-minute stretch in the middle portion of the half as the Bulldogs moved within eight.
- With the lead sitting at just 59-51 and the clock having ticked under eight minutes to play, Evelyn drained a key 3-pointer to push the advantage back to 11 points. Two possessions later, Walker hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game, and Drake would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Valpo finished the game shooting 55.8% from the field (29-of-52) and was 12-of-24 from 3-point range – the Crusaders’ most 3-pointers in a single game since draining 13 at Milwaukee on Feb. 26, 2016.
- The Crusaders have hit at a 50% or better clip from the 3-point line in back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 1 and 5, 2013 in wins over Milwaukee and UIC.
- Leading the way on Wednesday was Walker, who scored 19 points in the first half en route to tying his career high – set earlier this season – of 26 points.
- The senior went 10-of-16 from the field to also match his career best for field goals made, and was also a season-best 5-of-8 from the 3-point line.
- One game after setting a new career high in the scoring column, Joseph came just one point away from matching that output, as he went 6-of-7 from the field – including a perfect 3-of-3 from downtown – for 16 points.
- Joseph has now scored 13 or more points in five of Valpo’s last six games.
- Both Joseph, who finished with eight assists, and sophomore Micah Bradford (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais), who handed out seven helpers, set new career highs in assists on Wednesday.
- Valpo finished with 25 assists on its 29 made baskets, its highest number of assists against a Division I opponent since racking up 27 helpers in a win over Chicago State on Feb. 5, 2007.
- Smits added 10 points – his third double-digit output in the last four games – while Evelyn connected on a trio of 3-pointers for nine points.
- The Crusaders enjoyed a 30-21 advantage on the boards, led by six rebounds from Walker – who led Valpo on the glass for the third straight game.
- After falling to Missouri State in its MVC home opener, Valpo has now won back-to-back home games and improves to 54-5 at the ARC since the start of the 2014-15 season.
- Graham Woodward led Drake (10-8, 4-1 MVC) with 15 points off the bench as the Bulldogs suffered their first loss in conference play.
- Valpo limited Drake’s Reed Timmer, who entered averaging better than 19 points per game, to just seven points on 3-of-7 shooting on Wednesday – just his second single-digit output of the season. The Crusaders also hold the distinction of being the only team to hold Timmer scoreless in his career, doing so in the last previous matchup between the two programs – a Valpo win in Nashville his freshman season.
Valpo (11-7, 2-3 MVC) takes to the road looking for its first win in Valley play away from home on Saturday evening. The Crusaders head to Cedar Falls, Iowa for a 7 p.m. tip on Saturday night at UNI – a game which can be seen live on ESPN2, as well as the ESPN app. As always, the game can be heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) as well. Links for all the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.