Valpo tops Cleveland State, extends Horizon League lead
Post-Tribune staff report February 9, 2013 8:04PM
Updated: March 11, 2013 7:04AM
CLEVELAND — Valparaiso got off to a terrific start at Cleveland State, and never looked back.
The Crusaders handled the Vikings 80-72 on Saturday, having raced out to a 12-0 lead.
Valparaiso (19-6, 9-2 Horizon League) now has a two-game lead in the loss column atop the standings, with Detroit (8-4) losing earlier on Saturday at Green Bay and Wright State (7-4) playing at Milwaukee on Saturday night.
“A lot of guys fought through a lot of adversity against a very good Cleveland State team,” Crusaders coach Bryce Drew said.
In addition to Matt Kenney nursing an ailing back and Ryan Broekhoff not practicing on Friday because of illness, several Valparaiso players got shaken up during the game against Cleveland State (12-13, 4-7), with LaVonte Dority appearing to be the most troubling situation for the Crusaders. He suffered an apparent ankle injury in the first half, and did not return.
“We’ll have to examine him, and see what we have to do,” said Drew, adding Kevin Van Wijk also is banged up.
Still, the Crusaders shot 55.1 percent (27-of-49) from the field, including 7-of-18 from 3-point range, and placed five players in double-figure scoring. Broekhoff had 15 points and four steals; Van Wijk 14 on 4-of-5 shooting; Bobby Capobianco a season-high 13 in 13 minutes, including eight in the game’s first eight minutes, his third straight productive game off the bench; Erik Buggs 11 and eight assists; and Will Bogan 11 on 4-of-5 shooting, including 3-of-3 from 3-point range.
“Any time you can get three in double figures, that’s tremendous,” Drew said. “To get five, that just shows our passing and cohesiveness playing together.”
Cleveland State, which has lost four straight games to Valparaiso, missed its first eight shots, before scoring for the first time with almost six minutes elapsed.
“It was huge from a confidence standpoint,” Drew said of the 12-0 start. “We had guys banged up and not feeling well, and that was a huge boost.”
The Vikings closed to 20-14, before the Crusaders pushed their lead to as many as 18 points. Cleveland State drew to 55-47 with 9:35 left in the game.
The Crusaders’ defense was especially intense at the outset, including the Vikings committing 12 of their 17 turnovers in the first half.
Freshman Bryn Forbes scored a game-high 24 points for Cleveland State.