Valparaiso rallies, then lets lead slip away against Oakland
Post-Tribune staff report December 17, 2012 11:12PM
Updated: January 19, 2013 6:20AM
Monday night’s game at Oakland was a roller-coaster for Valparaiso.
The Crusaders ended at a down point.
Valparaiso dropped a tough 70-68 decision to Oakland, as the Grizzlies reeled off the game’s final 11 points. The Crusaders (7-4) had put together a stirring rally to build a nine-point lead, after having trailed by 10 early in the second half, then didn’t score on their last eight possessions.
“That’s definitely a difficult one,” said Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew, whose team endured foul trouble, two technical fouls and an intentional foul in the loss. “We played well enough in the second half to win. We just didn’t close it out. We’ll be in a lot of close games this year, so we have to use the last five minutes and learn from it, and use it to prepare for the conference season.”
Duke Mondy completed Oakland’s comeback with a basket with 20 seconds left for a 69-68 edge. After a LaVonte Dority miss with 11 seconds, Mondy missed the front end of a one-and-one. But Mondy got his own rebound, this time making the front end and missing the second. Ryan Broekhoff’s 3-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
“We had some shots the last five minutes and just missed, and they made some shots,” Drew said. “Basketball is a game of momentum, and they got momentum and just kept playing better and better.”
The Crusaders trailed 34-32 at halftime — and it could have been significantly worse for them, for various reasons — before Broekhoff scored the first points of the second half. But the Grizzlies (4-7) ripped off 10 straight points for a 44-34 lead.
Still, Valparaiso — which started its usual lineup for the 11th time in as many games this season, then started Erik Buggs, Dority, Broekhoff, Bobby Capobianco and Kevin Van Wijk to open the second half for the second straight game — stormed back.
Ben Boggs tied the score at 50-50 midway through the second half, and a Jordan Coleman basket off a steal gave the Crusaders the lead. Boggs and Coleman scored back-to-back again to make it 56-52, and a Boggs 3-pointer gave them a 59-54 lead with seven minutes left. A Dority 3 made it 62-57, a Van Wijk dunk 64-57, another Van Wijk basket 66-59 and yet another Van Wijk basket (off a Matt Kenney blocked shot) 68-59 with 4:51 left.
Dority (after he had thrown down a dunk) and Buggs (after he actually had drawn a charge) each was called for a technical foul in the first half, and Boggs was called for an intentional in the middle of Valparaiso’s second-half comeback. Van Wijk sat the last 9:49 of the first half with three fouls, and Buggs the final 7:50 with the same number after picking up the technical. Both were able to play the bulk of the second half with four fouls, thanks largely to the protection of a zone Drew employed.
“We kept fighting despite all the adversity,” Drew said. “We had the energy to put together a nice run, and give ourselves a chance to win.”
The Crusaders also hurt themselves by committing 19 turnovers, including 13 in the first half. They lost despite shooting 50.9 percent from the field, limiting the Grizzlies to 38.3 percent, and holding a 38-32 rebounding advantage.
Dority came off the bench to lead Valparaiso with 14 points. Boggs and Van Wijk had 11 points each, Broekhoff had 10 and 10 rebounds, and Capobianco nine (going 2-of-2 from 3-point range, after missing his first five attempts of the season) and nine.
Mondy, Ryan Bass (who entered the game averaging 6.6, and fouled out with 6:47 left) and Travis Bader all scored 16 points for Oakland.