Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Drops Heartbreaker To Iowa In NIT

Monday, March 17, 2003

Iowa City, Iowa – Valpo’s NIT game on ESPN came down to the final possession, but Iowa held on for a 62-60 victory in the opening round of the Owens Corning NIT. Stalin Ortiz led the Crusaders with 14 points and Ali Berdiel added 13. After Chauncey Leslie made a difficult jump shot with 13 seconds left to give the Hawkeyes a 61-60 lead, Ortiz’s 10-foot leaner rimmed out and went out-of-bounds off a Crusader with 3.1 seconds remaining. Valpo finished its season with a 20-11 record.

The game was a seesaw affair, particularly in the second half when the teams exchanged the lead 10 times. Iowa led by seven (36-29) with 18:13 left before Kikas Gomes scored all seven points, which included consecutive dunks, during a 7-0 Valpo run that tied the game at 36-36.

A 3-pointer by Ortiz gave the Crusaders a five-point advantage (50-45) with 10:40 left before Leslie drained a trey and Sean Sonderleiter made a layup to knot the score at 50-50 at the 9:51 mark. After a 52-52 tie, Iowa (16-13) went on a 5-0 run to take a 57-52 lead with five minutes remaining.

Raitis Grafs, Valpo’s senior center, fouled out (4:14 left) on two consecutive possessions during a 14-second span. Ortiz responded with two layups after steals and Antti Nikkila sank two free throws during a 6-0 run to help Valpo regain a one-point lead (58-57) with 3:15 left. Two free throws by Jared Reiner gave the Hawkeyes a 59-58 lead with 1:02 remaining.

Nikkila, who ignited Valpo off the bench with eight points and two blocked shots, regained a one-point lead (60-59) for Valpo after scoring off an offensive rebound with 30 seconds left. After an Iowa timeout, Leslie, who led the Hawkeyes with 15 points, drove into the lane and banked in an eight-foot jumper for the game-winning points.

The Crusaders called a timeout with 11 seconds left and Ortiz’s short jumper on the baseline hit the far rim before deflecting out-of-bounds. Iowa’s Jeff Horner was fouled on an attempted layup with .3 left. Horner sank the first of two free throws before the buzzer sounded.

In the first half, five points each by Berdiel and Ortiz propelled the Crusaders to an 11-point lead (19-8) – their largest of the game – with just under 10 minutes left. However, Iowa went on a 19-8 run to tie the game at 27-27 with three minutes left before intermission. Iowa led 32-29 at halftime.

Valpo shot 46 percent overall (25-54), while Iowa finished shooting 50 percent (24-48). The Hawkeyes made 10 of 16 free throws compared to the Crusaders’ 7 of 13. Valpo committed just nine turnovers, while Iowa had 17 miscues.

Gomes and Grafs added nine points each and Grafs topped the Crusaders with five rebounds. Gomes led Valpo with four assists and Ortiz had a game-high four steals.

Iowa outrebounded Valpo 34-26. Reiner tallied a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sonderleiter and Brody Boyd added 11 points each for Iowa. Horner had a game-high seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

The game marked Valpo’s first-ever appearance in the NIT during the school’s Division I era (1976-present). The appearance on the ESPN flagship was also a first for Valpo.

M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana