Game #9-267: Cleveland State Vikings at Valparaiso CrusadersJanuary 4, 2013 7:00 pm
I like to take my Dad to home games that I make the trip for, but he's in his 80s and doesn't move very well. Fortunately, Valpo has a small section behind the Valpo basket for wheelchair and similarly disabled clientele, so I was able to take my Dad to this game and he had a heck of a time. Fortunately, no projectile spheroids or homo-sapiens came flying in our direction.
Valpo laid an egg against Loyola. Cleveland State is seriously undermanned, having lost Anton Grady for the season. Without him, Gary Waters has to rely more on youngsters. It was a perfect storm: an undermanned team whose closest thing to a quality win came against Ball State (233) at home, traveling to the home court of the preseason favorite with 6 seniors returning from last year's team who just got ambushed by Loyola on its home court and is mad as hell about it. Talk about bad timing.
A Viking fan tried to tell me this was going to be a blowout, but I didn't believe him. Actually, he said it was going to be a 40 point blowout. That was so over the top I refused to believe him. We don't have 40 point blowouts in the Horizon League - not even close. Furthermore, no matter who is out there in the green uniforms, they play a bruising, full-court-pressing style of defense that has always given Valpo problems. Moreover, the 2013 version of the Crusaders is a risk-taking team. They always look to score in transition, and they seem to err on the side of risk rather than caution when deciding whether to pull back and run the offense. If there's a half-way decent chance to thread the needle for an easy layup, they'll go for it. That plus the unforced errors which are still a problem had me convinced that this game would be anything but easy.
For one brief moment in the middle of the first half, it looked like I was right. Valpo stormed out to a 12-1 lead ...
before Cleveland State reeled off 9 straight points to make it a ballgame.
It stayed that way for a few minutes
before Valpo went on a 17-4 run end the half up by 17.
Valpo won the 2nd half by 7 points, mostly by maintaining the deficit between the two teams.
When Kevin Van Wijk hit a short jumper in the paint with 5:13 to go, putting Valpo up 63-41, the lead was officially safe. It was certainly nowhere near a 40 point win, but then my Viking fan friend was most likely engaging in hyperbole, even if he didn't think so at the time.
Valpo still has issues: Lavonte Dority still forces the action too much, Bobby Capobianco has trouble finishing near the basket, both he and Kevin Van Wijk still get called for a few Illegal screens each game, and the guards are still prone to unforced errors. Furthermore, Erik Buggs tweaked his ankle -
just one example of close to a handful of minor injuries sustained by the Crusaders. Nobody was injured enough to remove them for the remainder of the game, but injuries will still have to be treated prior to next Wednesday's game against UIC.
Meanwhile, Cleveland State's youngsters will get a lot of experience, Anton Grady is quite likely to redshirt this year to return next year, and there are new recruits coming next year. Kamczyc is the only senior on this year's squad. As Coach Waters has been telling anyone and everyone: "You better get us this year."
at VALPARAISO 74, CLEVELAND STATE 50
CLEVELAND STATE 8-7 (0-1) -- C. Lee 2-8 0-0 5; M. Mason 0-2 6-6 6; B. Forbes 3-9 6-6 12; L. Ndaye 7-12 1-3 15; T. Kamczyc 0-7 0-0 0; S. Douglas 1-3 1-2 3; J. Lomomba 1-3 5-6 7; D. Long 0-2 0-0 0; J. Ivory 0-2 0-0 0; A. Scales 1-1 0-0 2; R. Veira 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-50 19-23 50.
VALPARAISO 11-5 (1-1) -- W. Bogan 5-6 0-0 13; R. Broekhoff 3-7 3-3 10; E. Buggs 2-2 1-3 5; M. Kenney 5-14 1-4 14; J. Coleman 3-9 2-2 9; L. Dority 3-7 2-3 9; K. Van Wijk 2-4 2-2 6; B. Capobianco 2-5 1-2 6; V. Fernandez 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 26-56 12-19 74.
Three-point goals: CLST 1-18 (T. Kamczyc 0-4; S. Douglas 0-1; L. Ndaye 0-1; C. Lee 1-4; M. Mason 0-2; B. Forbes 0-5; J. Ivory 0-1), VALP 10-26 (W. Bogan 3-4; J. Coleman 1-5; B. Capobianco 1-1; M. Kenney 3-10; R. Broekhoff 1-3; L. Dority 1-3); Rebounds: CLST 25 (M. Mason 8), VALP 37 (R. Broekhoff 12); Assists: CLST 6 (C. Lee 3), VALP 15 (W. Bogan 3); Total Fouls -- CLST 21, VALP 20; Fouled Out: CLST-D. Long; VALP-None.