Game No. 12
Valparaiso 80, Loyola Marymount 73
The Crusaders erased a 10-point halftime deficit behind the stellar play of Alec Peters and knocked off the Lions 80-73 in the final non-conference game of the year at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Game Ball -- Forget Horizon League Freshman of the Week, Peters delivered a performance befitting of Player of the Week honors on Saturday afternoon. When the offense struggled, Peters pounded the ball inside with easy baskets. When there was some rhythm, the Crusaders ran sets to get Peters open perimeter looks. In equaling his career-high of 30 points, Peters joined Bryce Drew (5x), Brandon Wood (5x), Cory Johnson (2x) and Dan Oppland (2x) as the only players in the program to score 30+ points on multiple occasions in the last 15 years.
Air Ball -- What was with that first half? Drew changed his lineup for the third time this season, inserting Jordan Coleman and Clay Yeo in place of Lexus Williams and Jubril Adekoya. The third-year coach remarked after the game that Williams was dealing with an injury and the coaching staff wasn't sure if he'd be able to play. It seemed to me that some sort of message was being sent, especially when Nick Davidson and David Chadwick got some run before Williams. I only say this because Williams eventually came in the game and then started the second half along with Adekoya. I wasn't at the Evansville game, so I can't speak to that, but Saturday's first half was the worst 20 minutes of basketball I've seen this team play all season.
Quotable -- "We had quite an interesting week as only eight guys were able to practice. We weren't sure Lexus would be able to play. We had some different lineups on the floor, some that I don't know if we'll use some of them again this season." -- Valparaiso head coach Bryce Drew
Keep Shooting -- LaVonte Dority missed his first seven shots of the game and was listless in the first half. The senior kept firing and finally knocked down a key 3-pointer that cut the deficit to three points with 15:03 left. The Crusaders would never trail by more than one possession again. Dority finished with 10 points and three assists in 34 minutes of action.
Short Bench -- Drew made very little lineup changes throughout the second half. Peters never came out of the game and Coleman (17 min.), Dority (18 min.) and Vashil Fernandez (15 min) were on the floor for the majority of the half.
Up Next -- The Crusaders have the week off for finals before traveling to Orlando for the UCF Holiday Classic. Valparaiso opens with Southeastern. The Fire are 8-1 and average 92.9 points per game. Valparaiso is their only D1 regular-season opponent of the year. Southeastern lost 112-74 to Florida State in an exhibition on Oct. 30. Valparaiso sophomore guard Keith Carter will become eligible this week and is set to play in his first game against Southeastern.