The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team was unable to turn a halftime lead into a road victory Saturday afternoon at Evansville, as the Purple Aces outscored Valpo by 14 in the second half as Valpo lost by a 64-53 final.
How It Happened
- After giving up the first basket of the game, Valpo scored the next 11 points – six of which came from freshman Daniel Sackey (Winnipeg, Man./Thornlea) – to go ahead 11-3 eight minutes into the ballgame.
- Valpo surrendered just eight points to Evansville over the first 13 minutes of the game, as a jumper from the returning Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]) put Valpo ahead 16-8 at that point.
- Evansville outscored Valpo 16-8 over the next six minutes to even the game at 24 apiece.
- Valpo took a 27-24 lead into the locker room as freshman Javon Freeman (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) connected on a step-back 3-pointer in the final seconds of the half.
- Baskets in the opening 90 seconds of the second half from Sackey and Freeman pushed the lead to 31-24 with 18:30 to play.
- Evansville came back with a 15-3 run over the next seven minutes, including nine points in a row to end the run, as the Purple Aces went ahead 39-34 with under 12 minutes to play.
- Valpo answered with a run keyed by Golder, who scored seven points in less than two minutes as part of an 8-0 spurt which put the Brown and Gold ahead 42-39 with 9:39 to play.
- The teams traded baskets on their respective next possessions – Valpo’s coming on a driving finish from senior Deion Lavender (Alton, Ill./Marquette Catholic [UAB/Southern Illinois]) – to make it 44-41 with 9:04 remaining.
- Valpo would be stuck on 44 points for over three minutes as Evansville went on the key 11-0 run to pull ahead 52-44 with 5:56 to play. The Brown and Gold had a shot to get to within three points less than a minute later, but it was off the mark and Valpo trailed by six or more the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- The loss was just Valpo’s second of the year when leading at halftime (8-2).
- Valpo has lost four consecutive games, but still sits at 5-5 in the MVC standings.
- Valpo has dropped 22 straight road games at Evansville dating back to 1969.
- Both Valpo and Evansville shot at the exact same 21-of-49 (42.9%) clip from the field Saturday, but the Crusaders were just 2-of-10 from the 3-point line and 9-of-17 from the foul line, compared to 7-of-20 and 15-of-21 marks, respectively, by the Purple Aces.
- Golder returned to action after exiting last Saturday’s game with an ankle injury and missing last Tuesday’s game. The junior played 22 minutes off the bench, tying for team-high honors with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
- Freeman matched Golder with 12 points and also paced Valpo with six rebounds.
- Four players scored in double figures for Valpo, as both Sackey and junior Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) tallied 10 points on Saturday.
Valpo (12-11, 5-5 MVC) looks to snap its losing streak Tuesday night when it travels to Illinois State. The 7 p.m. tipoff against the Redbirds will be broadcast live on ESPN+.