VALPARAISO | Valparaiso found an unlikely answer to the all-time NCAA 3-pointer leader on Sunday afternoon: seldom-used freshman Clay Yeo.
Yeo delivered a game-winning 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left as the Crusaders beat Oakland 63-60 just two days after falling to Detroit in similar fashion.
Yeo, who didn’t play against Oakland earlier this season, knocked down the 3-pointer from the corner after Lavonte Dority dished off the ball with the shot clock winding down. The basket was Yeo’s fourth 3-pointer of the day, equaling the output of Oakland sharpshooter Travis Bader.
“I’ve never hit a shot like that in college before,” Yeo said. “I was told to go in the corner and just be ready to shoot.”
As impressive as Yeo’s offensive output was — he finished with a Division I-best 12 points, the freshman was the unlikely kryptonite to Bader, the much-heralded 3-point shooter who broke J.J. Redick’s career mark last week. Bader had a game-high 14 points, but missed eight 3s and was visibly frustrated throughout the game.
“I was called into Coach (Bryce Drew’s office) yesterday and he told me to be ready,” Yeo said. “I just tried to make everything difficult for him.”
Yeo’s heroics came after Bader tied the game at 60-60 with 40.2 seconds left with his fourth 3-pointer of the game. It was Bader’s only long distance shot when Yeo was on the floor. Although the Valparaiso freshman was an unlikely hero, Oakland coach Greg Kampe had a feeling that Yeo was going to get the ball.
“We discussed how we wanted to guard him on the last play and our guy didn’t do what we asked him to do,” Kampe said. “Dority was blanketed and we knew what they were going to do. We just had a guy that took it into his own hands to do something different. Give their kid a ton of credit.”
The Crusaders (15-11, 7-4) got strong performances from the rest of the bench on Sunday as Bobby Capobianco delivered 10 points and nine rebounds while Moussa Gueye tied a program record with seven blocks. Gueye finished with nine points and five rebounds in his best game in a Valparaiso uniform.
“The nice thing about our team is we have depth,” Drew said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can play. I feel very comfortable with our second five being our starting five. This was a big test for us to see how we’d respond. The seniors set a good tone and our younger guys really followed their lead.”