VALPARAISO | Lexus Williams and Clay Yeo used Valparaiso’s final exhibition game to give coach Bryce Drew something to think about.
The newcomers staked their claim for a key spot in the rotation by combining for 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting as the Crusaders knocked off Robert Morris 90-82 at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday night.
“I just came in and tried to fill my role off the bench,” Williams said. “I’m just happy to be here and do what my coaches ask me to do.”
Yeo scored 16 points in a reserve role but provided his biggest spark in the second half when he began covering RMU’s Kashaune McKinney. The senior scored a game-high 38 points, but Yeo used length and athleticism to slow down the dynamic scorer.
“He was having a very good game, and I was told to do what I could,” Yeo said. “He’s an excellent player.”
The exhibition victory didn’t come easy as the Crusaders needed back-to-back 3-pointers from Lavonte Dority late in the second half to weather a 10-0 Robert Morris run that cut a double-digit deficit to 71-70.
“I was just trying to make plays,” Dority said. “I’m just trying to take upon that leadership role and make things happen.”
Five players scored in double figures for Valparaiso as Dority led the team with 18 points and four assists. Williams had 14 points, three rebounds and two assists, while Jordan Coleman played a team-high 29 minutes and tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
“We’ve got different guys who played well, and that is going to change from game to game,” Drew said. “There will be tough decisions.”
Valparaiso will open the regular season Friday at the ARC against Murray State.