Tale of Two Halves Favors Home Team
Lions can't sustain first half surge and falls to Valpo as road-swing ends.
Dec. 14, 2013
VALPARAISO, Ind. -- LMU's month long, 15,500-mile road trip came to a close in a game that saw each team dominate a half. It was Valparaiso posting yet another second half surge as they overcame an 12-point deficit for a 80-73 win at The ARC in Valparaiso, Ind., on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions opened the game hitting 11 of their first 13 shots to build a lead as large as 12 and took a 39-29 lead into halftime. Defense had a big part of the early lead, as the Lions held Valpo to just 29 points on 25 percent (8-for-32) from the field.
However, Valparaiso, like they did just a week prior to Saint Louis, roared back thanks to 56.5 shooting (13-for-23), scoring 51 second half points.
"We started so well and really ran our offense against their zone well and we did a great job defensively," said Head Coach Max Good. "As the game settled in, we seemed to lose focus on defense. Credit Valparaiso, they are a very good team and they really forced the issue in the second half. And we didn't respond."
Valpo's Alex Peters was a big part of the surge in the second half, scoring 17 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, including three of four three-pointers. Anthony Ireland led the Lions with 18 points, hitting just 6-for-18 shots from the field. He added eight assists, two steals and four rebounds. Evan Payne added 12 points and Gabe Levin had 11.
"We told them in the scout that they are an opportunistic three-point shooting team. While they don't hit many, they hit them when they make a big impact," said Good. "And they did just that against us. We didn't adjust enough and they just gained momentum. As much as defense helped us in the first half holding them to 25 percent shooting, are lack of it hurt us in the second."
Valparaiso finished the game hitting 21-for-55 from the field, 38.2 percent. They were 6-for-17 from long range, going 4-for-8 in the second half. The Lions finished 26-for-59 (44.1 percent) from the field, hitting just 2-for-10 from three. The Crusaders held a big edge in at the charity stripe, going 32-for-41 while LMU went 19-for-29.
Ireland's jumper with 29 seconds left in the first half put the lead at 10, entering the break and Dickinson's lay-up in the first 50 seconds of the second half kept the lead at double digits, 41-31. From there, Valparaiso went on a 16-5 run, capped by a Peters' three-pointer to take their first lead of the game since it was 2-0.
The lead would change hands seven times after that, including Levin's jumper with 8:59 to play to give Lmu a 55-53 lead. On the next possession, LaVonte Dority capitalized on a three-point play to tie the Crusaders the lead, 56-55. They would not trail again.
After a Levin lay-up with 7:21 to play cut it to 60-59, Valpo went on an 8-1 run to put the game away.
The Lions end a six-game, 15,500-mile road trip and head home to host Cal Poly on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 7 pm.
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