VALPARAISO | It was exactly the kind of game the Crusaders needed.
Less than 24 hours after suffering a triple-overtime loss to Mercer, the Valparaiso men’s basketball team took advantage of a noticeable size discrepancy to blow out visiting Cincinnati Christian 94-58. It was the fourth game in eight nights for the Crusaders.
“You never know in a back-to-back game, especially such an emotional one as (Friday) night, how the team’s going to come out and how focused they’re going to be,” Valpo coach Bryce Drew said. “I thought everyone on our team was very focused coming into tonight. We all wanted to bounce back.”
Valparaiso came just short of reaching triple digits for a second straight night – in 15 fewer minutes of game time.
The Crusaders led almost the entire game, which allowed Drew to finally rest some of his starters and key reserves, many of whom were on the court for the majority of all three overtime periods Friday night.
“Experience-wise, we’re still very young. We haven’t had a lot of time to make a lot of adjustments,” Drew said. “I told them this is a great opportunity to play back-to-back games. It tests your heart. It tests your will.”
David Chadwick came off the bench and had his best game of the season, leading Valparaiso with 14 points in 17 minutes. He also contributed a pair of assists and a pair of rebounds in his first game in almost two weeks due to injury.
“It’s really hard to have to watch from the sideline while your team competes,” Chadwick said. “They did a great job of getting me the ball, so it was a great experience.”
Vashil Fernandez and Clay Yeo were also big off the bench for the Crusaders, both scoring 11 points in 20-plus minutes. Fernandez’s career-high 12 rebounds gave him his first double-double of the season.
Merrillville native and Andrean alum Nick Davidson scored seven points and tied Yeo with a team-high five assists in his first extended playing time since the beginning of the month.
“Coach gave me the opportunity to play today, and we always stress in the locker room just playing hard,” Davidson said. “That’s what I tried to do.”
Lexus Williams played a team-high 27 minutes and needed nearly all of them to reach his 11-point total. It was the freshman’s fourth straight contest scoring in double-figures.
“He’s been very consistent for us,” Drew said. “He hasn’t turned the ball over a lot the last few games, which has been good. He’s done a good job of getting us into our offense and doing good things for us.”
After suffering an ankle injury and being limited to just eight minutes against Mercer, Jordan Coleman didn't dress for the Crusaders on Saturday.