In a game of wild offensive swings between two of the top teams in the Horizon League, the Valparaiso Crusaders had the final burst which was enough to hold on and beat the Cleveland State Vikings 72-66.
The Vikings were trying to complete an impressive sweep of the Horizon League's Indiana teams but will instead head home with a split. Valparaiso started the game with an 8-0 run and from there momentum was quick to switch sides with Cleveland State answering with a 13-4 run to take a the lead midway through the first half.
The Crusaders finished the half strong, taking a four-point lead to the break before extending that lead to 11 early in the second half after a Jay Harris three-pointer put Valparaiso up 45-34, five minutes into the deciding half.
Again the Vikings would bounce back as Anton Grady converted an three-point play to complete an 11-0 run and give Cleveland State a four point lead with eight minutes to go.
But Valparaiso put together a deciding 15-2 run to take a double-digit lead which included five points by big man Kevin Van Wijk. Van Wijk finished the game with 23 points and 5 rebounds for Valparaiso. The Crusaders also benefited from 24 points off the bench, led by Jay Harris (12 points) and Matt Kenney (10 points, 9 rebounds).
The loss locks up the two teams in a tie for second place in the Horizon League at 5-2, one game behind 6-1 Wisconsin-Milwaukee.