Last night I made my first trip of the season to the ARC in Valpo to see the Crusaders in action. Valparaiso had just gotten beat fairly badly by Kansas so they needed a game to recover from it. This game was very cool to me because they were playing my first college. For some reason they shoehorned in an exhibition game against Purdue North Central after they had started their season. I started my college career at the local commuter school before transferring to the Purdue main campus. I knew that PNC had a basketball team, but I never knew that they played in venues such as the ARC. It had to be a cool experience for the team. I talked to a PNC student before the game who said that the team was actually thrilled to be in the ARC. He was also prophetic as he talked about the lack of size for the Panthers, and the fact that they would get killed on the boards.
PNC stayed in the game early thanks to some three point heroics. Things quickly turned around though as they had trouble getting a shot off, and Valpo just could not seem to miss. On the night they shot almost 68% from the field. From inside the arc they shot almost 86% missing only five shots all night. It is hard to keep up with a team that is having trouble missing their shots. Valpo also out rebounded the Panthers by 38. 38 sounds impressive but when you break it down to 51-13 it looks even better. Valpo had more offensive rebounds (14) than PNC had total boards.
Seven players reached double figures for the Crusaders on the night. They were led by my favorite Ryan Broekoff who had 18 points and 9 rebounds. Ryan at times reminds me of Rob Hummel. I liked him as a freshman, and he looks as if he is getting better. He still makes some mistakes on the court, but most of them are from trying too hard. He really just seems to have a nose for the ball. Brandon Wood, Michael Rodgers, Jay Harris, Matt Kenney, and Howard Little all round out the players in double figures.
I plan on attending several Valpo games this season, but I thought that it would be cool to start things off with one of my schools. Of course the other school Purdue comes into town at the beginning of December.
Gameball: Ryan Broekoff had this one in the bag. He led the team in points and rebounds last night so who else should get it? I really enjoy watching him run around the court trying to get every rebound he can.
Play of the Game: Yet again I am having trouble coming up with one play that defined this game. It was so out of control so early that you really didn’t have any game changing plays. I guess I would have to go with one of Kevin Van Wijk’s early three point plays. He seemed to have a knack for getting the ball in the basket despite getting fouled. He started the game in place of Cory Johnson, and made the most of his opportunity.