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Mid-Continent Semifinals Recap

March 11, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Semifinals Recap

Recap by Matthew Moll

(1) Valparaiso 90 (5) UMKC 78
Host UMKC could not hold their 49-41 halftime lead to advance to the Mid-Con finals. Instead Valpo will advance to the finals for the 10th straight season.

The Kangaroos were up big early building a lead as high as 17 points in the first half. Mike English and Michael Watson lead the scoring charge with 14 and 12 points respectively. But the second half belonged to Valpo’s Dan Oppland. Oppland fueled the second half comeback by scoring six straight points for the Crusaders putting Valpo up 58-57, a lead that they would hold until the contest finished. During a 16-3 Valpo run Oppland put up 12 points.

Oppland put up a career high 32 points making good on 72.2 percent of his shots from the field. Ali Berdiel added 21 points for Valpo while Greg Tonagel added 10 boards, seven assissts, and had zero turnovers.

Watson finished his all-time leading Mid-Con scoring career with 28 points.

Valpo looks for their eighth Mid-Con tourney title in the last 10 years when they play IUPUI tonight. IUPUI and Valpo will meet in the finals for the third straight season. This is the third straight season UMKC was eliminated by Valpo in the semifinal round.

(2) IUPUI 68, (6) Chicago State 47
Ron Hunter will have another chance to do his dance after defeating Chicago State Monday night.

IUPUI at no point was behind in the contest holding Chi State to just 10 points in the first 15 minutes and lead 36-23 at halftime.

The second half was more of the same for State as they had no solution to senior Odell Bradley and the Jaguar’s charge. The Jag’s managed to push the lead to as many as 25 points late in the second half as their defense forced a season low in points allowed.

Bradley had yet another double-double putting up 23 points and snagging 13 boards. Floor general Matt Crenshaw paced the offense with six assists and no turnovers.

Chi State finished the season with their best conference record since joining the Mid-Con and with more wins than the previous three seasons combined. Freshman big man Jeleel Akindele put up 11 points grabbed five boards and had two swats.

IUPUI’s 21st win is the most the school has recorded since joining the D-I ranks. For the third time in as many years the Jag’s will face Valpo in the conference finals.

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