LAPORTE | His "street clothes" outfit last week included a bow tie, as Valparaiso senior John Mosser sat behind the bench watching his teammates beat Portage.
Mosser was serving a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul the previous week against Michigan City. But he made up for lost time Friday night in a Duneland Athletic Conference game at LaPorte.
Mosser went 17-for-17 from the free throw line, scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Times No. 6 Vikings to a hard-fought 63-53 victory over LaPorte.
"I was really anxious," Mosser said. "It was tough to watch my teammates last week. But we had a good week of practice. We haven't been shooting free throws that well, so it was good to see."
According to Valpo basketball historian John Knauff, the school record for free throws made without a miss is 20-for-20 by Chuck Kriston on Jan. 20, 1959 against Gary Emerson. So Mosser came close.
"That's pretty good," Valpo coach Joe Otis said. "That was special and we needed it."
Mosser made 10 in the fourth quarter, when the Vikings (11-2, 7-2 DAC) had to hold off the pesky Slicers (2-12, 0-9). Most of them came early in the period, helping Valpo sustain a 41-32 lead.
LaPorte's Jacob Jones hit a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter, the second with 5:04 remaining to get the Slicers within 47-42. But Valpo was able to break the LaPorte press down the stretch for a few layups to secure the win.
Brody Wilson added 14 points for the Vikings, who struggled early. LaPorte led 10-6 after the first quarter, and extended its lead to 15-8 after Mosser picked up his second foul early in the second quarter.
But Valpo rallied in the final minutes of the half to lead 22-19 at the break, sparked by a Justin Osburn 3-pointer with 2:26 remaining and a pair of buckets by sophomore Drew Paul.
"The first 12 minutes we were not very good," Otis said. "But the last four minutes of the second quarter we got some offense going. We were ugly shooting (2 of 11) the whole first quarter."
Junior center Gage Ott led LaPorte with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Josh Fleming scored 14 points.