Trailing at halftime to a below-average Missouri State squad on Saturday night, Valparaiso men’s basketball coach Bryce Drew went against traditional philosophy and the Crusaders pulled out a victory.
Drew ditched his normal starting lineup coming out of the break, instead choosing to insert transfers Bobby Capobianco and Lavonte Dority. The moves paid immediate dividends as the Crusaders scored seven points in their first three possessions and never trailed again.
“With this team we have more depth and in different games we can go with different combinations,” Drew said. “Different players step up in different games.”
Dority was the player on Saturday night as the South Florida transfer scored 20 points in his Valparaiso debut. The junior guard stole the ball and then hit Ryan Broekhoff for a 3-pointer before knocking down a triple of his own in the opening moments of the second half.
“Lavonte has been very good in practice, but anytime you get in games it’s a little different,” Drew said. “He looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. I was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly he adapted.”
Dority’s addition comes at a perfect time for the Crusaders, as guards Will Bogan and Matt Kenney have both been sidelined by a flu bug this week. Kenney didn’t practice for much of the week and Bogan missed different parts of the week. Both players were limited to 10 minutes against the Bears. Jordan Coleman played 13 minutes in the first half, but stayed on the bench after the break.
“We’ll have tough decisions on who to put in the game,” Drew said. “They are good challenges to have.”
Dividing playing time is the task that falls on Drew’s shoulders, but it’s up to the players to make that task easier. Dority and Capobianco (10 points in 27 minutes) forced their way onto the floor with their play against Missouri State, but it could very well be two different players against Oakland on Monday night.
“The team is still figuring out things about ourselves,” Drew said. “Our goal is to try and get everything for when conference begins. It’s still a learning process.”