VALPARAISO | It’s beginning to appear that Ryan Broekhoff is simply incapable of having a bad game.
The Valparaiso senior failed to hit a shot in the first half and connected on just two field goals in the game, yet still managed to lead the Crusaders to a 73-61 victory over Green Bay with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Broekhoff didn’t hit his first field goal until 7:04 left in the game and did most of his damage from the free throw line where the Australian native was 14-of-15.
“I missed a couple of shots that I’d normally make,” Broekhoff said. “They were really good at getting through screens and they made sure to locate me. I’m just lucky enough I was able to find my way to the free throw line.”
Kevin Van Wijk was also shut out in the first half, but the Valparaiso big man responded with the first seven points of the second half and finished with 12 points and three rebounds while having his hands full with NBA prospect Alec Brown.
“We just kept playing our game,” Van Wijk said. “We didn’t really set up plays; just trying to find the open man. The perimeter guys did an awesome job.”
Brown had 18 points, including a 3-pointer that capped off a 20-5 run that brought the Phoenix within one point from an early 16-point deficit. Green Bay would never get closer the rest of the game.
“Credit Ryan and Kevin for staying aggressive,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. “Ryan has kind of spoiled us by seeming like he never misses.”
Erik Buggs scored Valparaiso’s first seven points of the game and finished with nine points, five assists and six steals.
Coupled with Wright State’s loss to Youngstown State, the Crusaders (16-5, 3-1) took over sole possession of first place in the Horizon League and now have a week off until next Wednesday’s road contest against the Penguins.
“We’ll take tomorrow off, get our bodies right and prepare as we usually do,” Broekhoff said. “There will be some physical practices and then we’ll ease it back towards game day.”