VALPARAISO — Valparaiso didn’t need a last-second 3-pointer from Nate Aerts or Brandon Newman to beat LaPorte on Thursday night.
The Vikings got plenty of long-distance shots from their two stars earlier in the game.
Newman knocked down three 3-pointers and had a game-high 25 points while Aerts also added three triples and 13 points to lead the Times No. 1 Vikings to a 77-51 win over the Slicers.
The win gives Valparaiso its 17th straight victory over LaPorte, a streak that has lasted over 10 years with LaPorte’s last win coming on Jan. 18, 2008.
“We came out to win the game,” Valparaiso coach Barak Coolman said. “We executed the game plan and we never let up.”
Aerts buried a 3-pointer on Valparaiso’s first possession of the game and then Newman added five quick points as the Vikings had an 8-0 lead before the Slicers got their first clean look at the basket. Aerts and Newman combined for 21 points in the first quarter as Valparaiso jumped out to a 25-8 lead.
“You’ve got to be able to win all styles of games,” Coolman said. “When you’re capable of beating a team, you need to beat them the way that you can and not let up.”
The Vikings (12-4, 4-0) continued to dominate, taking a 46-21 lead into the locker room and then stretching that lead to 34 points at the end of the third quarter. Newman scored 10 points in the third quarter and finished with 25 points and nine rebounds along with some much-needed rest in the fourth quarter after a pair of physical games against Merrillville and Munster over the weekend.
“Games like that take a toll on your body,” Newman said. “This game was great because it gave some other guys a chance to get out there and get some experience. It’s always great to see them get a shot.”
Freshman Colton Jones had six points and two assists while sophomore Brandon Mack added five points late in the game. Aerts had 13 points and three rebounds, but was limited to 12 minutes because of foul trouble.
“Nate is still scratching the surface on good he can be,” Coolman said. “If it weren’t for fouls, he might’ve had double the points tonight.”
The Vikings got a surprise Thursday night when 2007 Valparaiso graduate Robbie Hummel showed up in the crowd. The former Purdue star and current ESPN broadcaster spoke to the team following the game.
“He told us that having Valpo on our chest means something,” Newman said. “They laid the foundation down for us. He told us that he liked what he saw. Playing in front of alumni is great because we can ask them what they see, what do they think we can do to be better. It means a lot.”
Carlos Jenkins led the Slicers (4-12, 0-5) with 15 points while Drake Gunn had eight points and three rebounds in his first action since getting cleared from injury.