Purdue Men’s Hoops Rally For Win Over Valparaiso

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – Sasha Stefanovic and Trevion Williams combined for 36 to lead the Boilers to a 68-61 come from behind win over Valparaiso Friday night at Mackey Arena. They overcame an 11 point halftime deficit, stemming from a dismal first-half shooting performance.

Here’s how it all went down!

The Boilermakers won the tip and got things started with a layup from Williams off the assist from  Stefanovic. On the ensuing offensive possession, Stefanovic would get to the line and hit one of two.

Ben Krikke would then get things going for the Crusaders, with back to back baskets to put Valpo on top 4-3. Daniel Sackey then sank two free throws to add to the lead.

With a slow start, Valpo led the Boilers 6-3 as we reached the under 16-minute timeout. They were shooting just 1 of 6 from the field. Out of the timeout, Valpo’s Jacob Ognacevic drained a triple to keep the run going. The run would extend to 12 before Ethan Morton drained a triple for Purdue with 13:29 left in the half.

Williams added a layup for Purdue to make it a 12-8 deficit as they reached the under 12-minute media timeout. Out of the timeout, the Boilers forced Valpo into a shot clock violation to keep momentum on their side. Soon thereafter, Aaron Wheeler got in on the action for Purdue with a second-chance layup.

Valpo’s Jacob Ognacevic was called for a flagrant one with 10:10 left in the half. Williams went to the line and sank one of two, and then added a layup to put the Boilers on top 13-12 with 9:54 left on the clock.

Valpo put an end to the 11-0 run from Purdue with a triple from Goodnews Kpegeol, as the Crusaders regained the lead. This was the start of a 10-0 run over that stretched over a three-minute period for Valpo.
Brandon Newman was the one to put an end to the run for Purdue, with two free throws at the line at the 5:52 mark of the first half. However, Ognacevic answered that with a triple to extend their lead to nine.

As we reached the under four-minute media timeout, Purdue was shooting just 22% from the field, while Valpo was shooting 60%. The Crusaders led 25-19 with 3:46 left in the half.

The Boilers were able to cut the deficit to four, as Willams put in a second-chance layup with 2:49 left. However, Valpo answered with a 7-0 run to close out the first half, to take a 34-23 lead into the locker room.

Out of the break, it would be Purdue that struck first, as Stefanovic drained a triple. This was answered with a trip to the line for Valpo, as Sackey drained two. Isaiah Thompson then scored a quick four points on a jumper and then a trip to the line, cutting the deficit to just six.

As we reached the under 16-minute timeout with 15:53 left to play, Valpo was holding onto a 38-33 lead over Purdue. Out of the timeout, the Crusaders got to the line and made one of two. This was followed by a triple at the other end from Stefanovic to trim the deficit to just three.

“From there we started to build momentum, and it just started to trickle.”, said Stefanovic of the Boilers’ strong start to the second half.

However, with two quick jumpers, the Crusaders were back in front by seven, with 13:52 left to play. Purdue didn’t let up though, and after a few trips to the line, the Boilers had trimmed the deficit back to four with 11:11 left to play.

Stefanociv drained a triple with 9:45 left to play, as the Boilers trimmed the deficit to just one. Valpo stretched it back to three before Zach Edey put in a dunk and got to the free-throw line with a chance to tie it. He would miss the attempt. However, he would follow that with an alley-oop dunk off an assist from Stefanovic on the ensuing offensive possession.

Edey then got a chance at redemption, as he went to the line for two more and sank them both to give Purdue a 54-53 lead with 6:48 left to play. This sparked a 10-0 run that took Purdue to the under four-minute media timeout with a 60-53 lead over Valpo.

With 2:52 on the clock, the Boilers called timeout, and out of the break, William put in a layup to put the lead to six. However, the Crusaders answered with a triple from Nick Robinson to trim the deficit back to three.

Williams answered with another layup to push it back to five with 1:26 left to play. This was countered at the other end with a layup from Eron Gordon to trim the Boilers lead back to three.

Valpo then fouled to send Thompson to the line, where he drained two, pushing the lead back to five. Then after an empty trip for Valpo, they sent Thompson back to the line, where he sank both again. This made it 68-61 with only 24 ticks left on the clock, as is where things would end as the final buzzer sounded.

“We just had a different flight to us in the second half. We just didn’t fight in the first half.”, said Thompson,  “We stayed together, stayed composed and we were able to get it done.”

With the win, Purdue improves to 3-1 on the season and turns their focus to their next game, which will come on the road Tuesday, December 8th in South Florida as they face the Miami Hurricanes.

Points – Sasha Stefanovic (17)
Rebounds – Trevion Williams (11)
Assists – Sasha Stefanovic & Aaron Wheeler (3)
Steals – Mason Gillis (2)
Blocks – Zach Edey (1)Valparaiso Stat LeadersPoints – Nick Robinson (15)
Rebounds – Nick Robinson (6)
Assists – Daniel Sackey (5)
Steals – Nick Robinson (2)
Blocks – Three Players With (1)

Image Courtesy of Purdue Athletics Media

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