Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Drop 62-50 Decision at Miami
Michael Rogers tied for team-high honors with ten points.
Michael Rogers tied for team-high honors with ten points.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Valparaiso was within one point of Miami for a five-minute stretch of the second half and cut the RedHawks’ lead to three points with 7:49 remaining, but the Crusaders could not take the advantage, as Miami held off all of Valpo’s advances for a 62-50 victory Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Ohio.

“I thought today was definitely an improvement from Wednesday’s game,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew.  “We played hard the entire game and made a number of plays that helped keep us within reach.  You have to give credit to Miami, they’re a well-coached team with six seniors and they’re a team that has played a number of ranked teams extremely tough already this year.”

The game, a return matchup from last year’s epic ESPNU BracketBusters battle at the ARC, started out as a quick-paced back-and-forth affair, as both squads scored on each of their first two possessions just 76 seconds into the game.  Miami locked down Valpo defensively over the next 5:30, going on a 9-1 spurt over the span with five points from Eric Pollitz and four from Michael Bramos.  After the teams traded baskets, the Crusaders put themselves right back in the game with five quick points on a fast-break layup by Urule Igbavboa (Oakdale, Minn./Tartan) and a slam-dunk 3-point play from Cameron Witt (Launceston, Tasmania, Australia/Launceston).  

The stretch was indicative of the way the first half would be played, as every time the RedHawks seemed poised to extend their lead, Valpo answered with points of its own.  De’Andre Haskins (Long Beach, Calif./La Lumiere [Ind.] School) knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers at one point, while Michael Rogers (Kingston, Jamaica/Redemption [N.Y.] Christian) and Benjamin Fumey (Bremen, Germany/Freie Hansestadt) cut the Miami lead to two with consecutive baskets late in the frame.  Miami eventually went into the half with a 29-26 lead after Howard Little (Chicago, Ill./Stoneridge [Calif.] School) found himself loose on the baseline for a layup in the final minute.

Rogers had Valpo’s first four points of the second half, with his second basket of the stanza cutting Miami’s lead to 31-30 with 17:25 to play.  It was at that point that both teams started having trouble handling the ball, as over the next three and a half minutes, the sides combined for nine turnovers and zero points.  The RedHawks’ Tyler Dierkers finally ended the scoring drought with a jumper to push Miami’s advantage to three with 13:52 remaining.

Miami increased its lead up to nine points at 44-35 at the 10:32 mark thanks to eight quick points from Bramos and a trio of free throws by Dierkers, but the Crusaders did not fold.  Jake Diebler (Upper Sandusky, Ohio/Upper Sandusky) knocked down a jumper in the paint, and after a basket by Pollitz, freed himself for a triple on Valpo’s next possession to make it a six-point game.

Fumey hit a 15-foot jumper the next time down the court to cut the deficit to four points, and after Bramos split a pair from the charity stripe, Igbavboa made a nice move in the paint to bring Valpo back to within 47-44 with 7:49 to play.  But again Bramos stepped up for the RedHawks, knocking down a second-chance 3-pointer on their next possession that hit every part of the rim before falling in.  Bramos’ triple sparked a 13-3 Miami run over the next four-plus minutes to put the game away.

“I thought that Bramos three really was the turning point,” said Drew.  “Up to that point, we were staying within reach, but his three seemed to give Miami momentum.  They got a couple of defensive stops after that and converted on the offensive end.”

Diebler and Rogers tied for Crusader team-high scoring honors with ten points apiece.  Valpo connected on 51.3% of its field goal attempts (20-of-39), just the second time this season it has been better than 50% from the floor.  Igbavboa led Valpo with six rebounds, while Little handed out a team-best four assists.

Bramos connected on 6-of-9 from behind the arc on his way to a game-high 28 points for the RedHawks.  Pollitz added 11 points for Miami (6-3), while Dierkers led all players with eight rebounds.

Valparaiso (3-6) returns to the court on Saturday, December 20 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., hosting the nation’s unanimous top-ranked team in North Carolina in the Windy City Hoops Classic at 1 p.m.  This is the fifth consecutive season that Valpo has taken on the nation’s top-ranked team, and the third time in seven years that the Crusaders have hosted a top-ten foe at the United Center.

Tickets are still available for the game by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by contacting the Valpo ticket office at 219-464-5233.  Those unable to make it to the game can watch live on ESPNU or, as always, tune in to the Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WAKE, 1500 AM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WWLO, 89.1 FM, Lowell) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.

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
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 Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
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 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
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
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
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo