Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusaders Into Semifinals Behind 30 From Wood
Brandon Wood scored 30 points and hit seven triples Friday. (Ray Acevedo)
Brandon Wood scored 30 points and hit seven triples Friday. (Ray Acevedo)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Valparaiso connected on a Horizon League Championship record 15 3-pointers, seven of which came in the final 20 minutes from Brandon Wood (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo [Highland C.C./Southern Illinois]), who scored 30 points in all as the Crusaders downed Detroit in quarterfinal action Friday night in Milwaukee, Wis., 88-78. Valpo plays at Milwaukee in the second semifinal Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“I think you saw a very good college basketball game tonight between two good basketball teams,” said Crusader head coach Homer Drew. “I was glad we were able to get the lead and never lose, even though it did get close quite a few times in the second half. Our team played very well together, moved the ball well, shot well and was able to win.”

Wood's 30-point effort came despite missing his first seven shots from the floor and not hitting a basket until over 15 minutes into the game. The junior ended the first half just 3-of-11 from the field, including 0-of-2 from behind the arc, and with just seven points. But Wood turned things completely around in the second stanza, hitting 7-of-8 from downtown en route to 23 second-half points.

“I thought Brandon hit some big, big 3-pointers in the second half to help us keep our lead,” said Drew. “I was very pleased with his poise; he stayed patient when things weren't going his way early on and continued to work to get open.”

While Wood led the Crusaders' effort toward the record-setting barrage of 3-pointers, he got plenty of help as well on Friday. Sophomore sharpshooter Ryan Broekhoff (Frankston, Victoria, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport), who had not hit a triple in his last three games, went 3-of-6 from downtown, while freshman Jay Harris (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East) connected on two of his three long-distance tries. Three other Valpo players knocked down one apiece as well as the Crusaders broke the previous record of 13 3-pointers, set twice, most recently by Loyola in 2003.

The 3-pointers started falling early for Valpo, as triples by sophomore Erik Buggs (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell) and senior Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn./Duluth East [Iowa State]) helped stake the Crusaders to an early 8-3 advantage. But a cold spell allowed Detroit to go on a 14-1 run over the next four minutes to claim what would be their largest lead at 17-9, before a triple by Harris stopped the Titan surge.

Valpo kept Detroit within arm's reach, tying the game once at 18-all with 9:43 to go in the first half on a Johnson bucket, but the Titans held a narrow advantage for much of the first half. Trailing 28-23 with 6:55 to go in the opening stanza, Valpo put together a quick 8-0 spurt to take the lead for good, as a Buggs inside bucket was followed with 3-pointers by Broekhoff and sophomore Matt Kenney (Mooresville, Ind./Mooresville). Detroit cut the Crusader advantage to one point on a trio of occasions down the stretch of the opening 20 minutes, the latest coming with 1:21 to play in the half, but a steal and 3-point play on the fast break by Wood gave Valpo a 40-36 lead into the locker room.

The Titans tied the game twice in the opening four minutes of the second half, but both times Valpo answered with 3-pointers, first by Broekhoff and then by Wood, to maintain possession of the lead. Wood scored 14 of his second-half points in the first seven minutes of the half, knocking down his fourth triple of the game with 13:07 to play to push the Crusader advantage to 60-52, their largest lead to that point.

Detroit scored five points on its next two possessions, however, setting up a second half in which the Crusaders had to find a counter-punch to every Titan punch. Twice in the middle stages of the half, the Titans cut the lead to two, but both times sophomore Kevin Van Wijk (Hoofddorp, Netherlands/Katholieke Scholengemeenschap Hoofddorp) came up with inside baskets to make it a two-possession game. Then with under eight minutes to play, Detroit held the ball with a chance to take the lead after a 3-pointer by Jason Calliste cut its deficit to one, but Broekhoff blocked a shot and ignited a fast break that ended with all five Crusaders touching the ball and Harris canning a 3-pointer from the corner.

Three more times down the stretch, the Titans moved within two points, but again every time, Valpo held off the Detroit attack. Leading just 69-67 with five minutes to play, Johnson knocked down a pair of huge free throws to push the lead back to four points. Following a putback basket by Ray McCallum, Wood hit yet another 3-pointer to stretch the lead to five points, and then after Detroit had scored three points over two possessions, Wood hit another triple to make it a 77-72 game with 3:28 remaining.

A Johnson free throw increased the lead to six points with under three minutes to play, and after the two sides traded turnovers, Broekhoff stepped up and drew a charge on McCallum to give the Crusaders the ball back. There was no surprise as to which Valpo player would end up taking the shot on the ensuing possession, as Wood freed himself and Kenney hit him for his seventh 3-pointer of the contest, a Valpo season-high and a career best. The triple, which came with 1:48 to play, gave Valpo a nine-point edge, and Detroit would get no closer down the stretch.

Broekhoff added 13 points to Wood's 30 and approached a double-double with nine rebounds Friday evening. Johnson also finished the night in double figures with 11 points. Harris and Kenney each contributed eight points off the bench, with the latter adding seven rebounds and four assists, while Buggs chipped in seven points and five assists. Valpo hit 30-of-62 (48.4%) from the floor and knocked down 15-of-27 (55.6%) from deep on the evening.

“I thought both Ryan and Matt did a great job on the boards for us tonight,” said Drew. “They were both key with their work inside rebounding against a big Detroit front line. Matt was wonderful off the bench for us, playing tenacious defense and handling the ball well as well.”

Detroit (17-16) placed five players in double digits, led by 22 points from Nick Minnerath. Eli Holman picked up a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass. The Titans hit just 6-of-21 (28.6%) from behind the arc, but stayed in the game thanks to 40 points in the paint.

Valparaiso (23-10) advances to semifinal action on Saturday evening against host and top-seeded Milwaukee. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., with the game airing live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. As always, all the action can also be heard live on the Valpo Sports Radio Network and online at www.valpoathletics.com, which will also have a link for live stats.

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 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 Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M 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 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
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
W 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
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
M 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