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Mid-Continent Finals Recap

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




Mid-Continent Finals Recap

Recap by Matthew Moll

(1) Valparaiso 75, (2) IUPUI 70
Homer Drew is back and so is Valpo denying IUPUI’s second straight NCAA appearance.

The Crusaders were forced to comeback from a double-digit deficit to unseat the defending Mid-Con NCAA representative.

The Jaguars opened the game with a 18-4 run while the Crusaders could only manage hitting on three of their first 15 shots. The ‘Saders were able to find their touch late in the half thanks to Ali Berdiel and Joaquim Gomes three-pointers. IUPUI’s lead shrunk to six by the end of the first stanza.

The second half looked like more of the same for IUPUI. Mr. Mid-Con MVP Odell Bradley put his team up by 10 with less than 10 to play. But the Crusaders were resurrected finding their touch again as they evened the score at 60 with a Gomes dunk.

Valpo’s lead went back to two when Big O Bradley hit a lay-up with 18 seconds left.

IUPUI would not see another score and as Valpo closed out the scoring.

The deciding buckets were scored at the line for Crusaders who will go to the tournament for the eighth time in the last 10 years. Bradley lead all scorers with 26 points and also grabbed eight boards. The Crusaders were lead by Berdiel who chipped in 16 points and dropped six dimes. Sophomore Dan Oppland was all but neutralized by IUPUI, but hit big free-throws and added 10 points.

The win for Valpo adds yet another chapter to their Mid-Con success Drew’s crew is now 25-2 all-time in the Mid-Con tournament. IUPUI’s second loss in the past three years in the championship game gives them something to think about all summer. Unfortunately the mid-major status of the Mid-Con and the RPI of IUPUI will prevent the Jag’s and ‘Saders from meeting in the NCAA. Both teams will have to wait until next season to further the bitterness of the rivalry.

The loss for the Jag’s marked the team’s first loss at Kemper Arena and dropped IUPUI to 6-3 in the Mid-Con Conference tournament. IUPUI can hope for an NIT bid after completing the season with 21 wins.

For Valpo they reclaim the Mid-Con as their own and push the advantage against IUPUI in the conference tournament to two games to their one. Ahead for the ‘Saders is a most likely a 16 seed in the big dance.

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