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Valparaiso beats Green Bay to return to NCAA Tourney | The Catch and Shoot

Valparaiso beats Green Bay to return to NCAA Tourney

A hobbled Valparaiso team edged out a 54-44 win over Green Bay on Tuesday to grasp the Horizon League Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Joe Raymond, AP
Joe Raymond, AP

This will be Bryce Drew’s second journey to the NCAA tournament as a coach. The Crusaders went dancing in 2012 under Drew and lost to Michigan State in the first round.

“This team has been through so much adversity this season,” Drew said. “Our program and our University is built around faith and that showed throughout this game.”

Sophomore forward Alec Peters was elected Horizon League Tournament MVP after he scored 9 points on 3-of-13 shooting and grabbed 4 rebounds Tuesday.

“I have great coaches and teammates and they put me in good positions to succeed,” Peters said. “Although, I think I am undeserving, couldn’t throw a rock in an ocean.”

Peters wasn’t the only Crusader to earn hardware, as E. Victor Nickerson and David Skara earned All-Tournament honors.

Skara scored a team high 12 points, but the majority of his work came in the first half. The freshman was going shot for shot with the Horizon League Player of the Year Keifer Sykes in the first half.

“We knew that everybody needed to step up tonight,” Skara said. “They were guarding Alec Peters a lot, I had to hit shots and I did.”

Skara and his teammates really had to step up, especially after guard Tevonn Walker, an all-conference freshman team selection, couldn’t play more than four minutes due to a knee injury.

“[Tevonn] wanted to play so bad tonight, and I wanted to give him an opportunity,” Drew said. “He was a big reason why we have made it this far. We thought his adrenaline would help push him through the pain, but it didn’t work that way.”

With Tevonn out, Keith Carter played a huge role in the win for the Crusaders.

Carter hit a massive 3-pointer to give Valpo a 40-39 lead with 8:39 left, which was their first lead of the second half. Carter also stole the ball away from Carrington Love in the last minute of the game that ended all hope in a Phoenix comeback.

Carter scored 9 points and had 6 assists in the championship game.

“Our depth was a big difference in this game, because we were able to score in different stretches during the game,” Drew said. “[Carter] did a great job for us tonight. His floor game was tremendous. [The shot to give Valpo the 40-39 lead] was deep, but we have confidence in his shot.”

Drew said after the game that Walker will be okay to play in the NCAA tournament. Walker did not aggravate the knee on Tuesday and will have more than a week to rest.

The sights now turn to Sunday, as the Crusaders will find out their opponent on CBS’s selection show, which starts at 5 CT.


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