VALPARAISO | A roster full of talent and only one basketball, Valparaiso University made it work with ease Saturday night.
The Crusaders had 22 assists on 31 baskets and rolled to a 90-62 exhibition victory over St. Joseph’s College at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
Bobby Capobianco led the Crusaders with 19 points and eight rebounds in his Valparaiso debut, while reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff had 16 points.
“We moved the ball really well,” Broekhoff said. “It’s going to take some time to feel each other out with some of our offensive schemes, but we did well, everyone got a few shots up.”
With Kevin Van Wijk sidelined as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, Capobianco got the start at center. The Indiana transfer threw up an air ball on his first shot, but settled into a groove, mixing interior baskets with a 3-pointer and 6-of-6 shooting from the free throw line.
“Just getting back on the floor, getting used to being in games,” Capobianco said. “It felt good to get out there, and it gave me a lot of confidence. I wish I could’ve had that first one back though.”
The newcomers were on full display as Vashil Fernandez wowed the crowd throughout the game. The Jamaican big man had a stretch where he flashed down the lane for a two-handed slam, only to have the ball bounce high off the rim before falling through for a basket. As he made the shot, Fernandez crumbled to the ground. With the crowd laughing at the moment, Fernandez peeled himself off the hardwood, sprinted down to the other end and corralled a rebound. Fernandez finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Jordan Coleman displayed his athleticism with a stretch that included a block, a steal and a two-handed slam. The Hawaii transfer finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Alex Rossi was the only Crusader who didn’t score, but the California transfer led Valparaiso with six assists in 17 minutes.
“I was happy with how our starters came out, and the returners got us in a good rhythm,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. “For our newcomers it was good to get their feet wet and get to play in a game. I thought it was a good game for everyone involved.”
The Pumas featured a trio of local talent with Michael Lipton (Crown Point), Danilo Zekovic (Munster) and Aleksa Kojcinovic (Wheeler). Lipton had five points and eight rebounds for St. Joseph’s while Kojcinovic finished with four points and two boards. Zekovic grabbed a rebound in six minutes on the floor.