VALPARAISO | Friday night was the kind of night that Matt Kenney, Will Bogan and the rest of the Valparaiso men’s basketball team needed.
Kenney scored a team-high 14 points, and Bogan had 13 points to lead the Crusaders past Cleveland State 74-50 in a nationally-televised contest at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The pair of senior guards each knocked down three 3-pointers and had three assists after each were non-factors in Wednesday’s 63-54 Horizon League-opening loss to Loyola.
“It was a good confidence builder for me coming off the last game where I didn’t hit anything,” Bogan said. “I’ll just ride the momentum and carry it through.”
Bogan was back in the starting lineup Friday as senior Ben Boggs was sidelined with turf toe. Boggs went through warmups and was prepared to play, though Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said Boggs was at “50 percent.”
The Crusaders looked focused Friday night, jumping out to a 12-1 lead and playing with a precision that they lacked in Wednesday’s loss to the Ramblers.
“We had a players-only meeting (on Thursday morning),” Kenney said. “We knew the coaches were working hard on the film, and we felt obligated to get back. We wanted to talk about it. We got in early, had a meeting, watched the film and tried to correct the mistakes.”
Kenney was aggressive throughout the night, taking advantage of double-teams on Ryan Broekhoff. Kenney has been hot-and-cold throughout the year, but Cleveland State coach Gary Waters knew he’d be a handful for the Vikings.
“Kenney is the one guy that always seems to do well against us,” Waters said. “I thought he was the key tonight, and Bogan, I know everyone has been waiting on him, and he hit some shots.”
Broekhoff had 10 points and 12 rebounds and earned a unique distinction when he scored the 150,000th point in program history. Broekhoff has scored in double figures in 12 consecutive games.
The Crusaders (11-5, 1-1) jumped out to a 12-1 lead, only to watch the Vikings storm back to cut the deficit to 15-14. Valparaiso then closed the half on a 20-4 run and held a lead no smaller than 17 points throughout the second half.
“We came out ready and aggressive,” Broekhoff said. “We looked to turn up the heat. We have to make sure that no matter if we can be up 20 or down 20, we have to play the exact same. We have left our foot off the pedal before, and I thought tonight we took a big step forward.”