Valparaiso takes home Horizon League title, No. 1 seed with win at Cleveland State

Sloppy play late in the second half made the final minutes interesting, but in the end Valparaiso pulled out a 56-53 win Friday at Cleveland State to secure its third regular season Horizon League title in four seasons under coach Bryce Drew.

Photo: AP / Charlie Neibergall
Photo: AP / Charlie Neibergall

Valparaiso (26-5, 13-3 Horizon) scored the final 6 points in the first half to take a 23-17 lead at the break. The Crusaders increased their lead to 14 points with 9:25 remaining.

Then Cleveland State (17-13, 11-5) took advantage of poor offensive execution and some turnovers by Valparaiso. The Vikings used an 8-0 run to cut the Crusaders’ lead to 40-34 going into the final six minutes of play.

Valparaiso sophomore Alec Peters had the response to the home team’s run. He scored a pair of baskets and then found senior Vashil Fernandez for a one-handed dunk to get the Crusaders’ lead back to 47-37 with 3:42 left.

Peters finished with a game-high 15 points.

Cleveland State kept things close, as senior Trey Lewis, who led the Vikings with 13 points, cut the team’s deficit to 55-50 with 24 seconds to go. But after a Valparaiso free throw and a missed 3-pointer by Vikings forward Marlin Mason, the comeback died.

As the No. 1 seed in next week’s Horizon League Tournament, Valparaiso will host the second round and semifinals. The Crusaders receive a bye to the semifinals, and if they win there they will host the championship game as well.

***

Five of the Horizon League Tournament’s eight seeds have now been determined. The remaining three games Saturday will decide the final slots.

Horizon League seeding scenarios:

Top 4 seeds if Green Bay beats Oakland tomorrow

1. Valparaiso

2. Green Bay

3. Oakland

4. Cleveland State

 

Top 4 seeds if Oakland beats Green Bay tomorrow

1. Valparaiso

2. Oakland

3. Cleveland State

4. Green Bay

 

Bottom 4 seeds if Wright State beats UIC AND Youngstown State beats Milwaukee

5. Detroit

6. Wright State

7. Youngstown State

8. UIC

 

Bottom 4 seeds if Wright State beats UIC AND Youngstown State loses to Milwaukee

5. Detroit

6. Wright State

7. UIC

8. Youngstown State

 

Bottom 4 seeds if UIC beats Wright Sate AND Youngstown State beats Milwaukee

5. Detroit

6. UIC

7. Youngstown State

8. Wright State

 

Bottom 4 seeds if UIC beats Wright State AND Youngstown State loses to Milwaukee

5. Detroit

6. UIC

7. Wright State

8. Youngstown State

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on SI.com, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: