Men’s basketball: Valparaiso stuns Murray State for big road win
Post-Tribune staff report December 29, 2012 11:38PM
Updated: January 31, 2013 6:53AM
No near-miss for Valparaiso this time.
Against a highly respected opponent, on the road, Valparaiso knocked off Murray State 66-64 on Saturday, as the Crusaders closed out the Racers for their best win of the season, and one of the best in coach Bryce Drew’s brief one-plus season tenure —a case could be made for it to top the list.
“We had three really good days of practice, and Murray’s one of the better teams in the country; they’re going to be an NCAA Tournament team,” Drew said. “For our guys to win in that type of environment, against that quality of a team, it’s a great blessing.”
Valparaiso (10-4) trailed by 11 points less than four minutes into the game, by six four-plus minutes into the second half, and still by five with less than eight minutes remaining. But the Crusaders made the plays down the stretch, breaking through to upend a Racers team that had entered the game 40-4 over the last two seasons, with just one home loss during that time frame.
“It was great to see the last five minutes, the determination the guys had to win; it was great to see,” Drew said. “Some guys made some spectacular plays the last five minutes.”
An Ed Daniel dunk — his second in a row — gave Murray (9-3) a 54-49 lead with 7:37 left in the game, before Valparaiso reeled off a 10-0 run to move ahead 54-49 with 5:17 left. Ben Boggs scored the last five points of the spurt, on two free throws and a 3-pointer, after having gone scoreless to that point.
LaVonte Dority made one of two free throws to make it 60-57, and his jumper with 2:07 left gave the Crusaders a 62-57 edge. Racers All-American point guard Isaiah Canaan made two free throws with 1:43 left, and Kevin Van Wijk was called for a charge to foul out — the Valparaiso bench at least wanted the basket to count — with 35 seconds left.
But Canaan missed a deep 3-pointer, and Bobby Capobianco scored to make it 64-59 with 17 seconds left. Canaan scored on a layup, but Boggs nailed two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to give the Crusaders a 66-61 lead. Canaan made a 3-pointer in the waning seconds to account for the final score.
Ryan Broekhoff was outstanding in posting 18 points and eight rebounds for Valparaiso. Jordan Coleman added 10 points, and Van Wijk (nine rebounds) and Dority (3-of-14 shooting) had eight apiece.
Canaan had 24 points (and six assists), but it came on 8-of-21 shooting, including 3-of-9 from 3-point range, as Erik Buggs and Dority spearheaded the Crusaders’ defensive efforts on him.
Daniel had 14 points (including 10 in the second half) and six rebounds, and Dexter Fields added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range.
“He’s a great player, he scored 24 points, and I feel like we did a god job guarding him (Canaan),” Drew said. “I was pleased with what our guards did. We knew he’d make shots; we just wanted to make it hard, not let him get easy scores, and our guards did a good job getting hands up.”
Valparaiso outrebounded Murray by a whopping 42-26 — including grabbing 15 offensive boards, with five from Van Wijk and four from Capobianco — to help overcome 17 turnovers.
Both teams dealt with foul trouble, as Van Wijk was called for two less than two minutes into the game, and Buggs was called for his fourth less than four minutes into the second half; Daniel headed to the bench with two fouls less than four minutes into the game.
Still, the Racers jumped out to a 13-2 cushion at the 16:03 mark, and led 19-8 with 12:01 left in the first half. But the Crusaders went on an 11-0 run — with Broekhoff scoring the first nine points of the stretch, after he had missed his first three shots of the game — to grab a 25-22 lead. Canaan’s basket sent Murray into halftime with a 31-28 lead.
Daniel’s three-point play with 15:46 left in the game — on Van Wijk’s third foul — gave the Racers a 42-36 lead, but Coleman’s 3-pointer off a Capobianco offensive rebound and Coleman’s basket off a Dority steal lifted the Crusaders to a 43-42 lead with 12:47 left.
The Racers later took that five-point lead, but the Crusaders will head into Horizon League play — they open on Wednesday at the ARC against Loyola, which won at DePaul on Saturday — on a very high note.
“Like I told our guys, we’re still improving, we’re still trying to
get better,” Drew said.