VALPARAISO | The sun did in fact come out on Thursday morning and the Valparaiso men’s basketball team went about its business as normal.
There was no panic at Schrage Hall following Wednesday’s 80-68 loss at Youngstown State as the Crusaders showed up for practice eager to put the setback behind them.
“We turned the ball over and we didn’t execute on offense,” Valparaiso senior Ryan Broekhoff said. “Whenever we had any momentum, they’d hit a shot or grab a rebound. We really put ourselves in a hole.”
Broekhoff was one of the first players on the practice floor on Thursday, less than 24 hours after his second straight poor shooting performance. The Australian native shot just 3-of-13 against Youngstown State and is 5-of-20 in his last two games.
“I just need to shake it off,” Broekhoff said. “I probably forced a few too many shots last night trying to make something happen. In practice the shots have been falling and I’ll have another good shooting night soon and the confidence will be there.”
Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew has become notorious for stating that every conference game counts the same following wins over teams such as Detroit and Green Bay. Drew welcomed those words following the loss to Youngstown State and has no worries about his senior-laden team bouncing back from the disappointing performance.
“We have a short turnaround and it’s nice that we get to play again (on Friday night),” Drew said. “There isn’t a game in the league that comes as a shock, regardless of who wins. That’s part of what makes this league great.”
The Crusaders (16-6, 6-2) are still sitting on top of the Horizon League with a half game lead over Detroit and with two straight home games coming up against last-place Milwaukee and UIC.
The Panthers (5-17, 1-7) gave up a 20-0 run against Loyola on Wednesday night in a 76-65 road loss. Milwaukee has lost four straight games and is 0-12 away from the Klotsche Center this season. Broekhoff notched a career-high with seven 3-pointers in a 76-52 win over Milwaukee on Jan. 12.