Bradley ended Valparaiso’s season in the Arch Madness championship game in March 2020. Many of the veteran players knew that this home reunion in the ARC was a revenge game.
Freshman guard Sheldon Edwards understood the stakes, and was responsible for helping close this 11 month old score in the double overtime win over the Braves 91-85.
“I knew it was a revenge game, even if I wasn’t in it. Just being part of the game, everybody is thinking the same thing. They beat us last year, but this year is a new year, so let’s get them back,” Edwards said.
He knew his moment was coming after sophomore forward Donovan Clay fouled out with half a minute left in regulation time. All it took was a look from his teammate to understand the situation.
“When Donovan fouled out, he kind of had that look in his eyes that was like ‘it is your time right now,’” said Edwards. “I took that to heart, and tried to play as hard as I could to try to get the win.”
After sophomore forward Ben Krikke fouled out in the second overtime period, it only added more pressure on needing to extend the lead and close out the game.
Edwards' plan to win was simple and he trusted in his training to win the moments that mattered the most.
“I just thought that we needed a bucket. I thought, ‘Lemme be myself and do what I do’. I know the coaching staff and the players and everybody trusts in my abilities, and so do I,” Edwards said.
During the second overtime period, he scored three three-pointers that helped provide a small cushion for the team’s lead. Edwards also made both of his free throws with two seconds left to seal the deal. Edwards scored 18 total points after the end of the game.
Head coach Matt Lottich commented about how special Edwards is in his consistency with making much needed baskets.
“He was letting them fly, and we wanted him to shoot it. He had it cooking, and he has been able to do that in games this year and been able to do that in practice consistently,” Lottich said.
Edwards was one of five players to score double digit points during the fifty minutes of play. All five of the players were either freshmen or sophomores.
Edwards and Krikke led the team with their own respective 18 points.
Clay scored 15 points and eight rebounds, while freshman guard Connor Barrett stepped up with 14 of his own points.
Senior guard Eron Gordon also scored 12 points against the Braves. He chipped in six free throws and was huge in the second half with two three-pointers. Gordon also tied Clay with eight rebounds.
The last time the basketball team won in double overtime, Valpo beat Miami (Ohio) 99-94 back on Feb. 23, 2008.
Krikke believes that this game is a step in the right direction for the team and hopes they continue winning through the rest of conference season.
“I think this is a great confidence builder for the team. We are just happy to get three in a row. I feel like we are coming together, playing with a little bit more energy and a little bit more fight.”