The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team incurred a 66-50 setback on Tuesday at Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago as host UIC secured its first 3-0 start since 2001 by limiting the Brown & Gold to 37.7 percent shooting and 1-of-14 from beyond the arc. Donovan Clay (Alton, Ill. / Alton) led the way with 12 points, while fellow sophomore Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) posted 11 on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting.
How It Happened
- Valpo chased 8-2 early but came back to grab its first lead of the game with 11:37 to go in the opening half as Mileek McMillan (Merrillville, Ind. / Merrillville) converted a layup to make it 11-10.
- Baskets by Sigurd Lorange and Nick Robinson helped Valpo open up a 15-10 edge, but the Flames scored 15 of the game’s next 17 points to mount a 25-17 advantage.
- Krikke’s midrange jumper with 1:12 left in the half snapped a scoreless drought that started at the 7:56 mark. His basket also marked the first Valpo field goal scored outside the lane in the game.
- UIC owned a 28-19 lead at halftime as Valpo went 0-for-8 from 3-point distance in the first half.
- Head coach Matt Lottich played his freshman trio of Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]), Connor Barrett (Chicago, Ill. / Loyola Academy) and Jacob Ognacevic (Sheboygan, Wis. / Sheboygan Area Lutheran) together for a stretch in the second half. Barrett provided a quick spark when he came off the bench, drilling a triple with 16:42 remaining that accounted for Valpo’s lone trey of the evening and the rookie’s first collegiate points.
- Valpo closed to within three after a Clay basket with 15:06 on the clock, but the Flames scored the next six and led by at least six the rest of the way.
Inside the Game
- Valpo has incurred back-to-back defeats to start a season for the first time since 2009-10. In both 2001-02 and 1997-98, Valpo started 0-2 and reached the NCAA Tournament.
- Robinson pulled down a team-high six rebounds and six Valpo players had three or more.
- UIC was led by Teyvion Kirk, who came off the bench for an eye-popping double-double of 14 points and 14 assists. It was the first time any Valpo opponent finished with a double-figure assist total since 2013.
- The sophomore duo of Krikke and Clay have both finished in double figures in each of the first two games. Krikke finished in double figures nine times as a freshman last season, but this marks the first time in his collegiate career he has hit double figures in consecutive contests. Clay has been in double figures in seven of his last eight dating back to last season.
- This setback snapped a 17-game winning streak in the head-to-head series with UIC that dated back to 2009. First-year head coach Luke Yaklich has his team off to its best start since 2001 after three impressive wins.
Valpo (0-2) will attempt to bounce back on Friday night at Purdue in a game that will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network. In addition, the local radio call will air on 95.1 FM Valparaiso and the TuneIn Radio app. The tip is slated for 6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET in West Lafayette.