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March 8, 2008 Columns No Comments



Valparaiso Knocks Off Wright State Again

by Bill Kintner

INDIANAPOLIS – There is a stick that Valparaiso has used three times this year to beat Wright State with. The Raiders are on the short end of it as they lost their third game in a row to the Crusaders 72-67 in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Championship.

Earlier this year at Wright State, Valpo pulled out a 71-67 win, then last Saturday on ESPN2 Valpo beat the Raiders in overtime 75-73.

“It is a lot like the other games when we played Valpo. Three terrific basketball games, but unfortunately we came up on the short end of the stick each time,” said a very subdued Wright State coach Brad Brownell. “It is a very bitter pill to swallow, but this was a very good season. I am very proud of my kids we just didn’t get it done tonight.”

With 1:55 left in the game the score was tied at 65. Urule Igbavboa made one of two free throws to put Valpo (21-12) up by one.

After Wright State’s Scottie Wilson missed two free throws with 1:01 left, Valpo’s Brandon McPherson made two free throws with just 37 seconds left after getting fouled by Jordon Pleiman to make it 68-65.

Wright State (21-10) got back within one at 68-67 with 16 seconds left as Troy Tabler made two free throws after he was fouled by Shawn Huff.

The game ended after Valpo’s Jarryd Lloyd made four free throws after being fouled twice in the last 12 seconds of the game.

Lloyd had a lot going through his head at the end when he made the four big free throws. “I was praying actually that I would make them. We lost games on the free throw line and I was just going through my routine and it worked,” said Lloyd.

Wright State’s poor free throw shooting did them in. They made just four in ten attempts in the second half and shot just 43.8 percent (7-16) for the game. At the same time the Crusaders shot 84.2 percent (16-19) for the game.

“It came down to free throws. They can do it in their sleep sometimes because we’ve been practicing so much on free throws to put us in that winning situation,” explained the ever-smiling Valparaiso coach Homer Drew.

This game was tied 14 times and the lead changed 16 times. The largest lead of the game was just six points when Valpo lead the Raiders 22-16 at the 10:50 mark.

In the first half the lead see-sawed back and forth. Then in the last five minutes of the half, the biggest lead was two points when Wright State’s Vaughn Duggins made a 3-pointer with 3:55 left.

A free throw by Igbavboa at the 2:46 mark and then two by Lloyd with 1:38 left to put the Crusaders up by one at 37-36. A layup by Pleiman gave the Raiders a one-point lead with 51 seconds left at 38-37 and that was the score going into halftime.

Both teams had four players in double figures. For the Raiders, Wilson and Pleiman both scored 15 points while Will Graham and Duggins scored 13 points.

Valparaiso’s Huff led all scorers with 21 points, Igbavboa put in17 points, McPherson got 16 points and Lloyd chipped in 14 points.

Drew pointed to the balanced scoring as a factor in the win, saying, “We had four in double figures, which is the strength of our team. They really share the ball. They like each other and make the extra pass. Even when we’re small out there we play really, really big in the heart.”

Notes

  • Valpo had more fans than Wright State at the game thanks to a major snowstorm that hit SW Ohio but missed Indianapolis. That is one of the few times in the HL that WSU did not bring the most fans.
  • During a second half timeout there was a three-point shootout between two Valpo students and two WSU students sponsored by a local pizza joint. As each team’s fans cheered them on the Wright State students prevailed 6-4.
  • Wright State leads the all-time series 5-4.
  • This is a banner year for Division I basketball in Indiana with six teams achieving 20-win seasons. Those teams are Valpo, Notre Dame, Indiana, Purdue, Butler and IUPUI.
  • Valpo plays Cleveland State tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the semifinals.

UIC beats Loyola

When a team doesn’t shoot well, doesn’t rebound well and doesn’t shoot free throws very well, there is a pretty good chance they are not going to win that night. That describes Loyola in their loss to UIC in the quarterfinals 60-49.

Loyola (12-19) shot a poor 38.3 percent (18-47), only made 56.3 percent (9-16) from the line and then got killed on the boards 36-20.

UIC (18-14) was not world-beaters, either, shooting just 36.2 percent (17-47) including just 3-15 from three-point land. But the rebounding margin and shooting 88.5 percent (23-26) from the free throw line provided them with their winning margin.

“It wasn’t pretty according to some bystanders and some of the people I talked to after the game, but it was a win for us and it was a win that was hard-fought, especially in the first half,” said UIC coach Jimmy Collins.

In the first half there were eight lead changes and five ties before Loyola’s Tracy Robinson hit a jumper with 53 seconds left to put them up 21-19 at the half. At that point the rebounding edge by UIC was small at 14-11. In the second half all heck broke lose as both teams clunked shot after shot but the Flames creamed Loyola in rebounding 22-9.

Loyola coach Jim Whitesell pointed to the bad shooting and the poor rebounding of his team as big factors in the loss.

“Give them a lot of credit, I don’t think either of us shot it great. Sometimes you have to get the extras like offensive rebounds,” said Whitesell. “That’s what they did. They didn’t shoot it well but they got some extra boards to make up for it. In a game like this, if you get two shots at a basket, or three, sometimes it gets you going.”

UIC helped keep Loyola off balance by frequently switching defenses from zone to man-to-man.

“It was a team effort. The coaches did a good job of switching us from zone to man to zone and we were able to contain them,” explained UIC’s Josh Mayo, who led all scorers with 17 points.

Robinson led Loyola with 15 points.

Notes

  • UIC leads the all-time series with Loyola 29-13.
  • There was no three-point shootout between students of UIC and Loyola because there weren’t any at the game. I think there may have been three UIC students but I didn’t see any Loyola students.
  • UIC plays Butler Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.

     

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