Valpo Wins Convincingly Over Gents, 99-73
Thursday, February 2, 2006

Files associated with this release:
CC-Valpo2 Box Score 2-2-06

Chris Watson

Clarke Jackson

Eric Holmes

VALPARAISO, Ind.—Valparaiso entered Thursday night’s game with Centenary on a four-game losing streak after having several of their top players miss due to injury. However, with a full complement of Crusaders and back on their home court, Valparaiso had no problem with the undersized Gents in sailing to a 99-73 victory in Mid-Continent Conference action. 


The Gents (4-17, 2-8 Mid-Con) jumped out on the Crusaders in the early going, stunning the home crowd of the Brown and Gold. Valpo’s Dan Oppland made good on only one of two free throws to open the contest and Centenary answered with seven straight points backed by a three-pointer from Eric Holmes.


Valpo (12-8, 5-5 Mid-Con) responded with a three-point barrage of six long distance shots, which included a pair by Oppland. The Gents looked out of sync during the Crusader 18-3 run, leaving men open outside and mishandling the ball inside. Valparaiso forced seven Centenary turnovers by the third media timeout and efficiently converted the misques into 14 points.


Down by as many as 15 in the first half at 32-17, the Gents clawed their way back to within nine points on six points by Jason Underwood and a trifecta from Xavier Burnette.


Just like the first half, Centenary looked good in the opening minutes of the second period. A Holmes drive netted two points, but he missed on the chance for the three-point play with an errant free throw attempt. However, the guard scored two more points on an inbounds play underneath and then drained a three-pointer to bring the score to 45-39.


On the next Valparaiso possession, the Gents forced a missed shot but allowed Oppland to grab the rebound. The forward scored on the put-back and was fouled. He missed the free toss, but again Valpo hauled in the board and quickly drained the three to extend the lead to 11. That sparked an 18-6 run for the home team that put the game away for good.


For the night, Valpo shot 44 percent (11-of-25) from the three-point arc. The Crusaders also out-rebounded the Gents 43-24 and Centenary could night find an answer for the inside-outside game of Oppland and Seth Colclasure. Oppland finished with 23 points while the shooting guard nailed 5-of-6 trifectas and also pumped in 23 points.


The Gents were led offensively by Chris Watson who finished with 17 points. Clarke Jackson came off the bench to score 12 points, all on three-pointers, and Holmes added 10 points in the loss. Centenary shot 52.7 percent from the floor, but took 15 less shots and struggled from the free throw line, making good on only 33.3 percent.


Centenary will return home to host Western Illinois as part of a homecoming doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game is an important one as the Gents and the Leathernecks are jockeying for the final berth into the Mid-Con Tournament.