Game No. 11
St. Louis 67, Valparaiso 65
Mike McCall tipped in an offensive rebound with 0.1 seconds left and the Billikens escaped from the Athletics-Recreation Center with a 67-65 victory on Saturday night. McCall's tip-in came when he corralled an Alec Peters blocked shot of Rob Loe with 0.9 seconds left. The officials went to the monitor and were able to confirm that McCall's shot beat the buzzer.
Game Ball -- The Crusaders could've folded on multiple occasions on Saturday night, but instead rallied to tie the game with 3.8 seconds remaining. Valparaiso fell behind 15-3 in the first 5:05, only to score the next 10 points. St. Louis would take multiple double digit leads throughout the night and Valparaiso battled back on each occasion. LaVonte Dority's leaner tied the game with 3.8 seconds left, but the Crusaders wouldn't have been in that position if it weren't for strong post performances from Bobby Capobianco and Moussa Gueye, as well as ugly-but-effective 3-pointer from Alec Peters. The Crusaders grew on Saturday night and showed they could play with the best their schedule has to offer.
Air Ball -- I've only had the chance to watch the replay of McCall's tip-in twice, but it appears that the Crusaders had some defensive issues throughout the possession. The fact that St. Louis was able to get the ball to midcourt without taking any time off the clock is alarming. Peters played good defense on the shot, but there very little blocking out that occurred after Loe's shot went up. McCall slipped by the defense and was in position to tip the rebound in while several Crusaders were standing away from the play. The flip side of that is McCall made an amazing play with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. Tough break for the Crusaders.
Quotable -- "Probably the only thing that I was right about all night was I told our team that it would take every second of the 40 minutes in order to beat this (Valparaiso) team." -- Evansville coach Jim Crews
Youth Not Served -- Alec Peters played a team-high 35 minutes on Saturday night, but the rest of the freshmen were held below their season average for minutes. Lexus Williams missed all four shots and had three turnovers in 23 minutes while Jubril Adekoya was effective in 14 minutes, but was held out of the game for the last 16:16. Clay Yeo played three minutes in the first half, but never got off the bench after halftime.
Owning the Glass -- The Crusaders won the battle of the boards 53-31. Moussa Gueye was especially effective with 13 rebounds and the senior was on the floor for the final moments of the game. Bobby Capobianco added eight rebounds and the Crusaders had 20 offensive rebounds.
Up Next -- Valparaiso finally gets a bit of a break as the Crusaders don't return to the court until an afternoon tilt with Loyola Marymount next Saturday. Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew has talked about the lack of practice time as of late and the third-year coach is excited at the prospect of a week at home.