Valparaiso Crusaders: 66 Oakland Grizzlies: 78
Sports are funny. One day you feel on top of the world and then the next day, nothing seems to go your way.
That’s exactly what happened to Valparaiso last night in the 78-66 home loss at the hands of Horizon League rival Oakland.
Throughout the whole game, Valpo couldn’t seem to find a grove with their offense. In the first seven minutes of the game, the Crusaders turned over the ball seven times including one stretch where they coughed it up five times on five straight possessions. Oakland was able to take advantage of that and open up a 15-6 lead with 13 minutes left in the half.
Valpo managed to tie it up five times in the first half but couldn’t breakthrough as Oakland managed to grab a 38-34 lead at the break.
The Grizzlies started out hot in the second half burying back-to-back triples and converting on a steal and fast break layup to make the score 46-34 with a little over 18 minutes left in regulation. Valpo then started to make a run and eventually cut the lead to five, but a small miscue on the defensive boards caused Oakland to regain possession and knock down a three pointer to extend the lead to eight. That proved to be the turning point as the Crusaders were unable to narrow the margin to less than seven and Oakland took advantage of their free throws down the stretch ultimately putting to rest any energy left in the ARC.
By the Numbers:
- Last night was Valpo’s largest home conference loss since losing 62-45 to Wright State on January 10, 2014.
- Tevonn Walker is known for playing his best against Oakland but struggled last night finishing with 9 points on 2-13 shooting.
- There were 43 fouls called in this game. 23 in the first half.
- Oakland went wire-to-wire and held their largest lead at 15 with 16:37 left in the second half.
- Joining the Horizon League in 2014, last night was the first time Oakland has came away with the victory at the ARC.
Oakland shot 58% (18-31) from the field, 33% (8-23) from the three-point line and 64% (18-28) from the free throw line. The Grizzlies played great defense all night long making Valpo earn each and every point and forcing them to work hard on every possession. Junior guard Martez Clark led with a game-high 25 points and was 4-8 from the behind the perimeter. Walker’s fellow classmate Stevie Clark contributed 16 points while dishing out 5 assists.
Valparaiso shot 41% (18-44) from the field, 21% (3-14) from the three-point line and 88% (21-24) from the free throw line. Valpo managed to turn the ball over 16 times which is one more their season average of 15. Alec Peters lead the Crusaders with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 5 turnovers while going 10-11 from the charity stripe. Freshman big man Jaume Sorolla played one of his best games of the year chipping in 11 points and 10 boards including a couple of dunks during the run that helped cut the Oakland lead down to 5.
The Grizzlies (13-3, 3-0 Horizon) will travel to the Windy City to play against a young and promising UIC team on Sunday, January 8th at 5 PM ET. That game can be watched on ESPN3.
The Crusaders (11-4, 1-1 Horizon) look to bounce back at home on Sunday, January 8th when the Detroit Titans come to town. That game is set to tip at 1 PM ET and can also be watched live on ESPN3.
Photo via NWI Times