Valparaiso puts up a fight but turnovers prove costly against New Mexico
post-tribune Staff report December 8, 2012 11:28PM
Valparaiso's Ryan Broekhoff (45) is congratulated while New Mexico's Chad Adams (4) questions the call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at University Arena in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Craig Fritz)
Updated: January 10, 2013 6:44AM
Valparaiso continued its challenging non-conference schedule with a 65-52 loss to No. 18 New Mexico on Saturday night at The Pit.
“It’s a very tough place to play,” Crusaders coach Bryce Drew said.
“They’re undefeated, No. 18 in the country, No. 6 in the RPI, so I’m proud of our guys. We were down four at the half (29-25), and they had one big run that gave them some separation.
“The atmosphere is one of the best in the country. You’re dealing with altitude issues, you’re dealing with fan issues. … A lot of teams don’t have success here. We came in with the motivation to win, but we go away with a lot of experience. We grew a lot tonight.”
The Crusaders (6-3) committed 23 turnovers — a season high for an opponent against New Mexico, which converted them into 22 points — compared to 10 for the Lobos (10-0).
“They had more length, they had more athleticism, and they were able to get their hands on a lot of balls,” Drew said. “Despite our turnovers, we played with a lot of heart. We played physical. The team has improved a lot in the last week.”
Valparaiso shot 48.6 percent from the field, including 8-of-18 from 3-point range, compared to 42.6 percent for New Mexico.
Continuing to play at an exceptionally high level, Ryan Broekhoff had game-highs of 24 points and seven rebounds for the Crusaders. No one else on the team scored more than seven points (Kevin Wan Wijk).
Three Lobos players scored 12 points.
“They’re a very explosive offensive team,” Drew said. “To hold them to 65 points, I thought we did a good job. They’re one of the better offensive teams in the country.”
The Crusaders have a week between games because of final exams, then play two games in a span of three days, both on the road, at Missouri State on Dec. 15 and at Oakland on Dec. 17.