Valpo Exerts Its Will Early, Holds Off Detroit Mercy’s Comeback Bid

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.

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2 Responses to Valpo Exerts Its Will Early, Holds Off Detroit Mercy’s Comeback Bid

  1. Don Seeko says:

    Very good preview. I think the refs will have a lot of influence in determining the pace of play. If the refs are familiar with both teams, then I believe it will be a high scoring game with a reasonable amount of fouls called on both teams. I heard McCallum say that at their game against Valpo, two of the scheduled refs couldn’t make the game because they couldn’t get a connecting flight the nite before and the substitute refs were not familiar with the Horizon. McCallum believes that had an impact on the game.

    Listening to Kampe, he seems a bit baffled of his team’s play of late. I don’t think Gibson will be a factor in the game. I think we are going to see Felder and Bass try to take over the game which could easily backfire for both teams especially UDM. Glancing at the stats, McFolley is having a terrible Horizon season in making less than 15% of his FGs. If this holds true on Saturday, OU wins.

    Both teams have similar fast paced games, but UDM seems to foul more; OU has the game coaching edge; Felder is more consistent than Bass, and looking at the stats, UDM is not generating a lot of fan excited attendance this year even though the game will be played at UDM. I give the edge, at least today, to OU.

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    • Tim says:

      Thanks Don. You bring up a lot of great points. The UDM attendance has been pretty poor. I am expecting at least 6,000 at Calihan on Saturday, but we all know almost half of those will be OU fans. I think the refs will let them play a bit more on Saturday. But getting in foul trouble will likely hurt Oakland more than UDM. I expect the first half to be higher scoring with more transition opportunities, while the teams will work their offenses around in the half-court more in the second, especially if the game is close.

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