VALPARAISO | The Horizon League Network broadcast a 40-minute highlight reel on Tuesday night starring the Valparaiso men’s basketball team.
Ryan Broekhoff knocked down shots. Matt Kenney pulled down rebounds. Bobby Capobianco dished out assists. Even Vashil Fernandez got in the act with a thunderous block.
The Crusaders followed up last Friday’s dominant performance with their best output of the year, shooting 60 percent from the floor in an 86-61 blowout over Illinois-Chicago.
“The last two games we’ve really come out with a lot of energy,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. “There are always things to work on, but I was proud of the guys tonight, and we’ll keep improving.”
The Flames led 7-2 before Valparaiso rattled off a 15-0 run, including eight consecutive points from Broekhoff to take the lead for good. Once the Crusaders (18-6, 8-2) had the lead, it became Showtime at the ARC.
Broekhoff connected on five of his six 3-pointers in the first half, including a 30-foot buzzer-beating shot. The Aussie native finished with a game-high 22 points.
“I didn’t even realize how deep the shot was,” Broekhoff said. “I saw on the clock there were only four seconds left. I’d made the last couple, and I shot it with confidence.”
Valparaiso’s Kevin Van Wijk was limited to just six minutes because of foul trouble, but reserve forward Capobianco played his best game in a Crusader uniform. The Indiana transfer had 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Capobianco entered the game with just eight assists on the season.
“I just try to keep the energy high,” Capobianco said. “The numbers are just a testament to our hard work every day in practice. Tonight was just a culmination of that.”
Kenney shined in his return from a back injury that kept him out of much of the last two games. The senior connected on all three of his shots, including two 3-pointers, while adding five rebounds and five assists.
Valparaiso High School product Hayden Humes was limited to four points in 16 minutes, while Daniel Barnes and Josh Crittle led the Flames (14-10, 5-6) with 12 points apiece.
“It felt like we were in quicksand the entire game,” UIC coach Howard Moore said. “Credit to Valparaiso. They played like the top team in the league tonight, and we played awful on defense.”