After winning in double overtime in late January, Valpo split the series against the defending Arch Madness champions 76-52.
The game was hard fought by Valparaiso, however head coach Matt Lottich believed that the team did not live up to the level of physicality that Bradley played at.
“I thought our intensity level was good, but the physicality of it we kind of just got pushed out of the way,” Lottich said. “The game was really physical and there weren’t a lot of fouls called, especially early.”
Valpo’s offensive game did not produce well against the Braves. Bradley’s defensive strategy blocked the lanes Valpo needed to drive down to score.
Lottich believed that the first half of the game went well offensively. For the second half, he commented that Bradley did better to stop Valpo from going on scoring runs.
“I thought we took quick shots, I thought we turned it over. I thought being bottled up made us press a little bit on defense. We made some mistakes and they got going,” said Lottich.
Overall, Valpo was able to hold a lead for only 17 seconds.
Lottich commented on how important it is to make adjustments in the present, making adjustments on their execution.
“Sometimes things are executed well, and sometimes [they're] not,” said Lottich. “We gotta be able to take these things in the moment and do them better.”
Only two players scored double digits on the night, while Bradley had six players score double digits.
Sophomore forward Donovan Clay led the team in points with 17 points. Clay exploded in the first half with 16 points, but the Braves were able to hold him to only one free throw in the second half.
“I think I was being a little passive,” Clay said. “I made my shots in the right spots, so that is why I feel like they slowed me down in the second half.”
Freshman guard Sheldon Edwards also had 10 points and five rebounds. The freshman has had double-digit point performances during his last three games.
Defensively, fifth year senior guard Eron Gordon led the team with eight rebounds. Fifth year guard Zion Morgan tailed behind with seven of his own rebounds.
As Valpo wraps up the series against Bradley, the team will go on a long stretch of road games to face the University of Northern Iowa, Loyola Chicago, and Southern Illinois University.
“This is not an ideal schedule. I am not going to sugarcoat it, but there is nothing we can do about it,” said Lottich. “The situation that we are in with this pandemic is hard.”