DETROIT | Lexus Williams did a little bit of everything for the Valparaiso men’s basketball team Wednesday night.
The freshman guard knocked down a key 3-pointer at the end of the first half to draw the Crusaders to within one possession over Detroit. Williams then added another triple in the second half to hold off a Titan rally and punctuated a 78-70 victory at Calihan Hall with his first collegiate dunk.
Williams finished with a career-high 21 points as the Crusaders won their first true road game since beating Ball State on Dec. 4.
“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Williams said. “This will be a good trip back home for us. We’ll get the TV on the way home. We haven’t been able to do that a lot this season.”
The Crusaders (10-9, 2-2) were without starter Jordan Coleman on Wednesday night as the senior was out with what coach Bryce Drew described as a "minor concussion." Jubril Adekoya got the start in Coleman’s place and delivered his best game in a Valparaiso uniform, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a career-high 34 minutes.
“Jubril kept us in the game in the first half by grabbing rebounds and moving the ball on offense,” Drew said. “When he’s playing that well, he’s hard to take off the floor.”
Williams was 10-of-12 from the free-throw line and added four assists and four rebounds. Lavonte Dority added 20 points for the Crusaders with 13 points coming from the charity stripe. Valparaiso attempted a season-high 44 free throws.
The Crusaders won just their second true road game of the season despite getting scoreless efforts from both Alec Peters and Keith Carter. Peters missed both of his 3-point attempts as his offensive struggles continued. Carter played eight minutes in the first half and then didn’t see the floor in the second half as Drew shortened his bench.
“It’s been a tough transition for Keith, but he’s had a great attitude,” Drew said. “We’ve been playing a certain way for a couple months and now he is able to play; he brings a different energy and style. We have a ton of confidence in him. He is truly a freshman out there with the experience he has in the college game. His attitude has been great and we look for him to definitely help us as we go.”
Juwan Howard Jr. led the Titans (8-11, 1-3) with 35 points while Matthew Grant added 14 points. Highly touted Michigan transfer Carlton Brundidge was held scoreless on four shot attempts.
“We’re excited for our guys and it was satisfying for us to see their hard work pay off,” Drew said. “We’ve had some really spirited practices since our last game and our guys put in the work to get better. We’ll continue that.”