Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Hold Off Western Illinois To Win Mid-Con Opener

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Valparaiso, Ind. - Four Valpo players scored in double figures and the Crusaders withstood two missed 3-point attempts in the last two seconds to defeat Western Illinois 54-51 in the Mid-Continent Conference opener for both teams.

With Valpo leading 52-51 with 11 seconds remaining, Dan Oppland was fouled and drained two free throws to extend the Crusaders' advantage to 54-51. Following a Leatherneck timeout, Troy Okeson missed a potential-game-tying 3-pointer with two seconds left and Nathan Koster's trey was off target at the buzzer.

Oppland, the reigning Mid-Con Player of the Week, led Valpo (5-8, 1-0) with 13 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Shawn Huff came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points, while Ron Howard and Seth Colclasure added 11 each. Eulis Baez topped Western Illinois (4-8, 0-1) with 22 points and 11 boards.

Valpo led by as many as 12 (49-37) with 6 minutes remaining and by 10 (52-42) at the 2:43 mark before the Leathernecks went on a 9-0 run to pull within 52-51 on Fred Oguns' layup with 20 seconds left. After a Valpo timeout, the Crusaders broke the WIU pressure and Oppland was fouled in the frontcourt prior to his clutch charity tosses.

Western Illinois led 7-2 in the first three minutes before Valpo tied the contest at 8-8 with 12:34 left in the first half. The Crusaders, behind Howard's five points, took a 17-12 lead with 9 minutes left before WIU tied the game at 17-17 and took a 23-17 lead at the 1:06 mark on two consecutive 3-pointers by TJ Gray in a span of 21 seconds.

The Crusaders responded with an 8-0 run behind five straight points by Oppland, including a three-point play with three seconds left. WIU's inbounds pass was stolen by Colclasure, who swished a 3-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer to give Valpo a 25-23 lead at the intermission.

In the second half, another trey by Colclasure increased Valpo's lead to 31-25 with 18 minutes left before the Leathernecks trimmed their deficit to 33-32 with 5:10 remaining. Valpo used a 6-0 run to lead 39-32 and expanded the advantage to 12 with a 10-5 run. Colclasure made a long 3-pointer - his third of the game - as the shot clock was expiring to highlight the stretch.

Defense was featured in the game as Valpo finished shooting 38 percent overall (20-53) to 40 percent (20-50) for WIU. The Crusaders made 7 of 19 3-point attempts (37 percent) and 7 of 11 free throws. WIU made 5 of 16 treys and converted 6 of 12 free throws. Valpo held a 37-34 edge on the boards. Each team committed 16 turnovers.

Colclasure grabbed a career-high six rebounds and tied Howard and Jimmie Miles with four assists. Baez made 10 of 17 shots for the Leathernecks.

Valpo hosts Oral Roberts on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
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
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
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
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
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 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
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 Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
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
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
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