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Valpo Falls to UIndy in Exhibition Action Thursday

 

A last-second 3-point effort would not fall for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team in its lone exhibition game prior to the start of the 2018-19 season on Thursday night, as Valpo dropped a 60-57 decision to UIndy.

 

How It Happened

–          After a slow start from the field, Valpo pulled out to an early 12-3 lead nearly eight minutes into the game, an opening stretch which included six points from junior Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville).

–          UIndy cut the advantage to one point at 19-18 nearing seven minutes remaining in the opening half, but Valpo responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by juniors John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) and Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]) to push the lead back to seven points.

–          The Greyhounds eventually ended the first half on a 7-2 spurt to cut Valpo’s advantage to 30-27 at intermission.

–          Much as it did in the first half, Valpo started slow from the floor in the second half, and this time UIndy scored six straight points to claim the lead.

–          Trailing 37-34 as the clock ticked under 15 minutes, Valpo was sparked by the play of freshman Daniel Sackey (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Thornlea). Sackey had five points, a steal and an assist during an 11-0 Valpo run that put the Brown and Gold ahead 45-37 with 11:20 to play.

–          Over the next four minutes, UIndy out-scored Valpo 10-2 to tie the game at 47-all, and after back-to-back Valpo baskets restored a four-point lead, the Greyhounds scored the next six to go ahead 53-51 with 3:34 to play.

–          Valpo would tie the score twice more, the second coming on a runner from junior Bakari Evelyn (Detroit, Mich./Hillcrest Academy/Southfield Christian [Nebraska]) with 35 seconds to play that made it a 57-57 game.

–          A foul would be called on the ensuing UIndy possession, with the Greyhounds splitting a pair of free throws to go up by one. After a Valpo miss, UIndy hit two more free throws to go up 60-57. Having to go the length of the court in just over four seconds, Valpo got a look from the left wing for the potential game-tying shot, but it would not fall.

 

Inside the Game

–          This was the third time in as many exhibition matchups between the two squads in the last decade that has been a tightly contested game. In 2009, UIndy beat Valpo 88-83 in an exhibition matchup, while Valpo won 75-67 in 2015 in a game that was within three points with 30 seconds to play – kicking off a season which resulted in the NIT championship game appearance.

–          Thursday’s game was the debut on the ARC floor in front of the home fans for a quartet of Valpo newcomers. Senior Deion Lavender (Alton, Ill./Marquette Catholic [UAB/Southern Illinois]), junior Ryan Fazekas (Chesterton, Ind./Marquette Catholic [Providence]) and freshman Javon Freeman (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) were all part of the starting lineup, while Sackey made his debut as well.

–          Both teams struggled shooting from the floor on Thursday, as both squads came in just shy of 35%. UIndy did hit eight 3-pointers to Valpo’s three from behind the ARC.

–          Valpo committed just nine turnovers to UIndy’s 14 miscues and held a 15-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

–          UIndy out-rebounded Valpo by a 45-36 margin.

–          Coming off the bench, Smits paced Valpo with 13 points and nine rebounds.

–          Sackey scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting off the bench as well, while Golder also chipped in nine points.

 

Next Up

Valpo opens the regular season on Tuesday night, Nov. 6 at the ARC against Concordia University Chicago. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and can be heard on WVUR as well.