Men’s basketball: Valpo edges Oakland on Clay Yeo 3-pointer
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent February 9, 2014 5:10PM
Valparaiso's Clay Yeo is surrounded by teammates Vashil Fernandez (left) and Jordan Coleman (right) after clay hit the game winning shot against Oakland during their game held at Valparaiso University on February 10, 2014. | Charles Mitchell/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 9, 2014 10:21PM
VALPARAISO — This was a win that Valparaiso badly wanted, especially after allowing a Horizon League contest to slip away on Friday night against Detroit.
This also a win that VU badly needed to keep pace in the tightly-bunched conference standings.
“It was a big test for us to see how we’d respond after a tough, emotional loss,” said Crusaders’ head coach Bryce Drew. “I thought our seniors stepped up and our young guys followed their lead.”
One of those young guys, in particular, contributed when Valparaiso needed it most.
Freshman Clay Yeo, who’s played sparingly due to multiple ailments this season, drilled a 3-pointer with just seven seconds remaining to give VU a 63-60 win over Oakland (15-11, 7-4 Horizon).
“I was told to be in the corner and ready to shoot,” Yeo said of the final shot. On that final possession, which began with 41 seconds remaining, VU got the ball to leading scorer LaVonte Dority.
But as was the case all game, Dority was swarmed by the Oakland defense and couldn’t take the shot.
“LaVonte saw a double team coming and he had the confidence in me to kick it out to me,” Yeo said. “I just let it fly.”
In the final seconds, Oakland quickly moved up court and a 3-pointer from Dante Williams was off the mark, sealing the win for Valparaiso.
“It was your typical VU and Oakland game: a last possession game,” said Oakland head coach Greg Kampe. “They made a shot. That’s just how this series goes.”
The game largely resembled the first matchup between the two conference rivals, which the Crusaders lost 75-70 on the road. In that game, the Crusaders were outscored 25-9 in the final 10 minutes.
On Sunday afternoon, Valparaiso again got a big lead early. The Crusaders had 20 first-half points in the paint — nine of them from Moussa Gueye.
“Moussa played his best game in a Valpo uniform,” Drew said. “His points and his minutes were a huge lift for us today because we had a hard time against their defense.”
But Oakland rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit and held a 55-53 lead with 4:00 remaining. A 3-pointer from Travis Bader tied the game at 60 with 41 seconds left, setting the stage for Yeo’s game-winner.