Basketball Earns Season-Opening Win Over North Park
The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team held North Park scoreless for over 10 minutes to start off the season opener Friday evening at the ARC en route to an 88-46 victory over the Vikings. The win extended the Crusaders’ winning streak in home openers to 13 consecutive years.
How It Happened
– The Crusader defense locked down on the Vikings from the early going in Friday’s win, as North Park’s first point didn’t come until a second-chance basket from Dyron Woods 10:03 into the game. Over that opening 10-minute stretch, North Park went 0-for-13 from the field and committed eight turnovers.
– Meanwhile, Valpo went ahead by double figures for good less than five minutes into the game on a fast-break slam from redshirt sophomore Derrik Smits (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville).
– Smits had a team-best six points in the game-opening 15-0 run, including a sky hook in the lane to cap the spurt, while redshirt sophomore Markus Golder (Portland, Ore./Clackamas [North Idaho]) had five points – including a fast-break dunk of his own.
– Back-to-back 3-pointers from North Park’s Jason Hines brought the Vikings closer than they had been at any point since the opening run, as Valpo’s lead was just 23-12 with 5:21 to play in the half.
– But the Crusader pair of Canadian guards – seniors Tevonn Walker (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) and Max Joseph (Montreal, Quebec/Vanier College) – combined for an 8-0 run over a span of 58 seconds to push the lead to 31-12. Walker opened the run with a triple, and Joseph added five points on back-to-back fast breaks.
– Valpo enjoyed a 40-17 lead at the half, and the lead remained steady in the low 20s in the early part of the second half. But leading 49-27 with 13:59 to play, the Crusaders held North Park without a field goal over the next five-plus minutes as part of a 16-3 run which extended the lead to 35 points, and Valpo would cruise from there.
Inside the Game
– Valpo has not dropped a home opener since 2004 as it extended its streak of wins in home openers to 13 on Friday. The Crusaders also have won six straight season openers – all of which have come at home as Valpo has not opened on the road since the 2011-12 season.
– All 10 Crusaders who were in uniform on Friday evening scored at least two points and grabbed at least one rebound.
– Leading the way for Valpo on Friday was sophomore guard Micah Bradford (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais), who scored a career-best 20 points – 15 of which came in the second half – on 8-of-12 shooting.
– Bradford was one of three Crusader returnees to match or break their career high in the scoring column Friday night. Smits took advantage of a starting assignment to score a career-best 14 points in 22 minutes of action, while sophomore John Kiser (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) – seeing his first competitive action of the year after suffering a pair of facial injuries in the preseason – came off the bench to contribute eight points to match his career high.
– Golder recorded a double-double in his first regular season game with the Crusaders, tallying 12 points and pulling down a game-best 10 rebounds. Joseph added 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor to round out the quartet of Valpo players in double figures.
– The Crusaders enjoyed significant advantages in points in the paint (42-8), points off turnovers (19-4) and fast-break points (22-0) on the evening.
– Hines led North Park, an NCAA Division III institution which was playing Friday’s game as an exhibition, with 13 points off the bench. The Vikings shot just 26.2% (16-of-61) for the game and were just 6-of-34 from 3-point range.
Valpo (1-0) returns to action Monday evening at the ARC as the Crusaders host Trinity Christian at 7 p.m. The game can be seen live on The Valley on ESPN3, with links for all the live coverage available at ValpoAthletics.com.
The Crusaders will be Shedding Light on Foster Care on Monday night as well. Fans who bring a night light or a stuffed animal to donate will receive free admission into the game.