In a battle of the remaining two conference unbeaten teams, Valparaiso made a statement with a decisive 92-74 win at Detroit Mercy. It was the Titans first loss at home this season. This was the most points Valpo scored in a game this season. The Crusaders led 50-29 at halftime, thanks in large part to an amazing 25 point first half from star junior forward Alec Peters. He finished with 39 points and 14 rebounds, both career highs. A play that epitomized the opening half was when Titan forward Anton Wilson saved a ball from going out of bounds on the sideline under the basket. Unfortunately, he saved it right to a wide open Peters who slam-dunked it. Tevonn Walker continued his hot play by scoring 21 points, and was good at drawing fouls to get to the free throw line. David Skara added 10 points, including an emphatic slam dunk as he drove uncontested through the lane thanks to a struggling Titan defense. The Titans came into the game giving up a conference worst 82 points per game, and it showed today. Their lack of good interior defense was evident for much of the day. Detroit Mercy’s two best players, Paris Bass and Chris Jenkins, did not start the game for undisclosed reasons. However, they both came into the game about four and two minutes into the game, respectively.
Detroit came into the game averaging over 85 points per game. They got into their offensive rhythm in the second half, opening it on a 10-2 run. But the closest the Titans could get was within seven points on a few occasions. Wilson had a great game for the Titans and was a big part of them getting back into the game, scoring a team-high 23 points, including 4-5 from behind the arc and a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line. Paris Bass had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Chris Jenkins added 13 points. It is surprising that Detroit Mercy did not have any fastbreak points, despite being a very good team in transition. Valpo also held the advantage over the Titans in points off turnovers, points in the paint, and second chance points. A bit of frustration showed at the end of the game for the Titans in the game’s final minute, as freshman Josh McFolley committed a flagrant foul that was away from the ball. Once play resumed, he and Keith Carter exchanged a body bump and a push. McFolley was then soon charged with a technical foul. Despite having such a marquee opponent in town, the attendance was still only 1,513. The biggest factor for the low crowd was the couple of inches of snowfall that fell in the Metro Detroit area overnight. The early 1pm Sunday afternoon start did not help either. Valparaiso (13-3, 3-0) hosts Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Thursday night. Detroit Mercy (9-6, 3-1) is off until Saturday afternoon when they host in-state rival Oakland.