The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team took control of a tight game late on Wednesday evening at the ARC with a critical 12-2 run over a four-minute stretch and held off Indiana State down the stretch to earn a 69-63 victory in Missouri Valley Conference action.
How It Happened
- After surrendering the first six points of the game, Valpo responded with a 12-3 run over five-plus minutes – including four points each from sophomores Micah Bradford (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais) and Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]) – to take a 12-9 lead nine minutes into the game.
- The game would remain a one-possession contest for most of the remainder of the half, until the Crusaders reeled off seven straight points in a 2:30 span to go ahead 34-25 with 1:48 to play in the opening period.
- Indiana State would score the final five points of the first half, however, to cut the Valpo advantage to 34-30 at the intermission.
- Valpo maintained a narrow lead for the first few minutes of the second half before the Sycamores scored seven points in less than a minute to go ahead 44-41 with 14:32 to play.
- Indiana State’s run kicked off a stretch of nearly 12 minutes in which neither team led by more than three points.
- A fast-break layup from Matt Deady gave Indiana State a 54-51 edge with 5:14 remaining, but Valpo answered with eight straight points over a two-minute span as part of the larger 12-2 run which gave the Crusaders control.
- Valpo scored on six out of eight possessions during the run, highlighted by a key 3-pointer from Golder with 4:38 remaining which gave the Crusaders the lead for good. Senior Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) followed on the next possession with an emphatic two-handed slam.
- Sophomore Bakari Evelyn (Detroit, Mich./Hillcrest Academy/Southfield Christian [Nebraska]) scored the last four points in the run for the Crusaders, giving Valpo a 63-56 lead with 1:19 to play.
- Indiana State cut into the lead in the final minute and moved within 65-63 with 30 seconds to go following a pair of free throws from Jordan Barnes, but sophomore John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) responded with two free throws of his own to push the lead back to four points. The Crusaders kept the Sycamores from scoring on their final two possessions to close out the victory.
Inside the Game
- Evelyn paced the Crusaders on Wednesday with 20 points – his fourth straight game leading Valpo in the scoring column and his second consecutive 20-point effort.
- Senior Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) added 14 points as well and now has 1,298 career points. Walker surpassed former Crusader Chuck Kriston (1960-63) for 17th position on Valpo’s career scoring chart Wednesday.
- Bradford and Golder added nine points apiece off the bench as the Crusaders held a 26-12 edge in bench points over the Sycamores.
- Indiana State finished the night shooting slightly better than the Crusaders from the floor (46% to 43.8%), but Valpo took advantage of added trips to the foul line, hitting 22-of-32 from the charity stripe to the Sycamores’ 14-of-23.
- Valpo also forced 22 Indiana State turnovers, 13 of which were Crusader steals to match their season best against a D-I opponent. Joseph and Walker each tallied four steals apiece to lead the way.
- With his second steal, Walker broke into Valpo’s career top-10 chart for steals. The senior ended the night with 143 career steals, knocking Raitis Grafs out of the top-10. Walker is now just two steals shy of Howard Little for ninth position.
- Sophomore Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) led Valpo with six rebounds – four of which came on the offensive end – and three blocked shots, the latter matching his career high.
- Barnes paced Indiana State (10-13, 5-6 MVC) with 23 points – 16 of which came in the second half. But the Sycamores had no other player finish in double figures.
Valpo (12-12, 3-8 MVC) hits the road for its next two games, starting Saturday night at Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. The game can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3 and heard live on WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso). Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.