Crusaders Use Balanced Attack to Defeat Gents, 77-66
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Valparaiso, Ind.—Four players scored in double figures for the Valparaiso Crusaders as they outshot and outrebounded the Centenary Gents on their way to a 77-66 conference victory Thursday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

Dan Oppland led the Crusaders with 16 points and also grabbed nine rebounds, while Joaquim Gomes earned another double-double with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Oumar Sylla scored 13 points, and Ali Berdiel contributed 12 points and seven assists.

Andrew Wisniewski continued his outstanding play of the past two weeks, scoring 32 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field, including 6-of-9 from the three-point line. However, Wisniewski missed four of eight free throw attempts as the Gents made only 14-of-23 attempts from the charity stripe (60.9 percent).

The Gents also had problems hitting field goals, as they made only 34.6 percent (9-of-26) of their field goal attempts in the first half. That enabled Valparaiso, who shot 54.9 percent from the field in the game, to jump out to a 16-point lead in the first half.

Valparaiso (7-9, 4-3 Mid-Con) expanded a nine-point halftime lead to 17 points with 12 minutes remaining in the game. Led by four three-pointers by Wisniewski, Centenary went on a 18-6 run over the next five minutes to cut the lead to five, but that would be as close as the Gents got before the Crusaders pulled away.

Rickey Evans made a solid contribution on behalf of the Gents, scoring 14 points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out four assists, and earning five steals. Centenary was unable to nullify Valparaiso’s size advantage, as the Crusaders grabbed 36 rebounds while the Gents were able to get only 26 boards.

Centenary (9-8, 3-3 Mid-Con) gets a much-needed week off before returning to action next Thursday, January 29, against the Western Illinois Leathernecks. Game time in Macomb, Ill., is scheduled for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on KYLA 106.7 FM.