The Valparaiso Crusaders got away with one Sunday afternoon at Kent State’s MAC center.
The Golden Flashes found a way to lose in overtime after leading the Crusaders 75-72 with only 4.3 seconds on the clock in regulation.
The plan was to put the Crusaders on the free throw line and close out a great come-from-behind victory after trailing for most of the contest.
The problem with the plan is someone forgot to tell the Golden Flashes they needed to rebound the ball to close out the game.
Valparaiso’s Erik Buggs made the first free throw to cut the lead to only two points and then missed his second shot.
Kevin Van Wijk, the 6-foot-8 Crusader forward who led his team with 25 points, grabbed the miss and scored a putback with only one second on the clock to knot the contest at 75-75 and send it into overtime.
It was all Valpo in the extra five minutes as the Crusaders (3-1) walked away with an 88-83 victory in the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic that saw Kent drop to a 2-2 start for the 2012 season. The Flashes opened the overtime with three turnovers and a pair of missed shots and fell behind by seven (82-75) before finally making a basket.
Needless to say, Flash head coach Rob Senderhoff was not a happy camper following the contest. “I can go on and on, but I’ll keep it brief because right now I’m not very happy. We have to play better, we have to make free throws in the second half, but you know we make a rebound today and we all go home happy,” said Senderhoff.
“Turnovers are a problem, you can’t have a one to three turnover to assist ratio (18 turnovers - 6 assists) and expect to win.”
Randal Holt led a group of four KSU players in double figures with 20 points. Chris Evans scored 18 while Kris Brewer hit 11 and Bryson Pope came off the bench to net 13 points.
Melvin Tabb also had a nice game off the bench, hitting three of four field goal attempts and also 3 of 4 three throws for nine points and three rebounds in 13 minutes of play.
The Flashes could net only 43 per cent (24-55) from the floor while hitting 75 per cent (30-40) from the foul line. However after hitting 9 of 10 in the first half from the line, the Flashes finished the second half hitting 19 of 28 with several of those in key spots when Kent was making a run.
The Valparaiso post players controlled the pain with Van Wijk and 6-9 Matt Kenney leading the way. Van Wijk finished with five rebounds in addition to his 25 points while Kenny finished the day with 16 points and six rebounds while Buggs and Ryan Broekhoff both netted 15 points in the winning effort.
Valparaiso took a 9-7 lead with 16:05 on the clock in the first half when Kenney popped a 3-pointer from the left wing. The Crusaders would never trail for the remainder of the first half pushing out to as much as a 12-point advantage (33-21) with 3:49 left to play in the half. The Crusaders led 36-28 at intermission.
Kent cut the margin early in the second half and when Pope hit a three at 18:40 the Flashes only trailed 38-36. Valparaiso continued to a lead inside 10 points until Brewer tied the game and then gave the Flashes a one-point lead with a pair of free throws with only five minutes to play in the game.
Leading 71-70 with only 51 seconds on the clock the Flashes turned over the ball and Van Wijk made a pair of foul shots to give the Crusaders a 72-71 lead.
Evans countered with a pair of free throws at 18.6 seconds to regain the lead for Kent and then Holt made a nice steal inside and got the ball to Evans who was fouled again with only 7.2 on the clock. He made both shots for the 75-72 lead which appeared to be safe.
Kent fouled Buggs at mid-court making sure he could not get off a 3-point shot. However the putback by Van Wijk on his missed foul shot at the buzzer set off a celebration by the Crusader bench. The celebration seemed to take all the KSU momentum and drive for the overtime period.
Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said following the game that he felt his team played off the heart and energy of point guard Erik Buggs. “Erik was layed up and couldn’t even walk two days ago,” said Drew. “For him to come out today and have the game he had is a real testament to his courage.”
Kent State will host Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday night.
VALPARAISO 88, KSU 83 (OT)
VALPARAISO (3-1) — Broekhoff 5-10 4-5 15, Van Wijk 6-8 13-14 25, Bogan 2-4 0-0 5, Boggs 0-4 4-4 4, Buggs 4-4 7-9 15, Coleman 2-4 4-6 8, Fernandez 0-0 0-0 0, Kenney 6-9 2-3 16. Totals 25-43 34-41 88.
KENT ST. (2-2) — Evans 4-7 9-11 18, Henniger 2-5 4-4 8, Goodson 0-3 0-0 0, Brewer 3-6 5-7 11, Holt 6-14 5-6 20, Pope 5-12 2-4 13, Thomas 0-1 1-2 1, Ortiz 1-2 1-2 3, Manley 0-1 0-0 0, Spicer 0-0 0-0 0, Morris Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Tabb 3-4 3-4 9. Totals 24-55 30-40 83.
Halftime—Valparaiso 36-28. End Of Regulation—Tied 75. 3-Point Goals—Valparaiso 4-12 (Kenney 2-4, Bogan 1-2, Broekhoff 1-3, Coleman 0-1, Boggs 0-2), Kent St. 5-10 (Holt 3-5, Evans 1-1, Pope 1-2, Goodson 0-1, Manley 0-1). Fouled Out—Coleman, Henniger, Tabb. Rebounds—Valparaiso 26 (Kenney 6), Kent St. 28 (Holt, Ortiz 4). Assists—Valparaiso 12 (Kenney 5), Kent St. 6 (Goodson 2). Total Fouls—Valparaiso 27, Kent St. 32. Technical—Valparaiso Bench. A—1,858.