Valpo vs Trinity Christian

After winning two of three games at the Nassau Championship in the Bahamas, Valparaiso University Men’s basketball team came home to face Trinity Christian. It was no close game as Valpo blew out the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Trolls 106-69.

The convincing win against the Trinity Christian Trolls marked the first time Valpo has scored over 100 points in a game since Nov. 2018 when the team put up 121 points against Concordia Chicago. After getting off to a slow start early in the season, Beacons Head Coach Matt Lottich was proud of the team’s execution offensively.

“We just executed our game plan,” said Lottich. “The message [going into the game] was just do what we do.”

Saturday night’s game against the Trolls was historic for junior forward Ben Krikke. Krikke, playing his first home game back from an ankle injury early in the season, finished with a career-high 26 points.

Krikke was strong in the paint, capping off an 8-0 Valpo run to start the game with an electric one-handed dunk that forced a Trinity Christian timeout. The junior forward finished the first half with a team-high 18 points, helping the team to a 47-26 lead heading into halftime.

“Ben is just a natural scorer. He’s talented at putting the ball in the basket, there’s a reason he was Preseason [Second Team] All-League,” Lottich said.

After scoring just five points in the team’s previous game against Tulane, Krikke stepped it up against the Trolls, notching a final stat-line of 26 points, three

rebounds, one assist, and three steals.
“It felt good,” said Krikke. “I’m just trying to find things within the offense and taking what the defense was giving me was pretty good. They were a lot smaller, so I

just used my size and got buckets.”
Valpo found a lot of success in the rebounding battle against the Trolls. The Beacons held a clear size advantage that allowed them to control the boards on both ends of the court all game. The team only allowed 4 offensive rebounds and ended the game with 46 total rebounds themselves, 13 of those coming on the

offensive end.
“In our last two games, Coastal Carolina

and Tulane got a lot of offensive rebounds. In practice and film sessions we definite- ly worked on that and just being a better rebounding team,” Krikke said.

Krikke was one of 13 Beacons who saw action on the court against Trinity Christian. All 13 players who saw time finished the game with points scored for Valpo. Sixth-year guard Trevor Anderson was another Valpo player who had a solid performance, finishing with 17 points.

The only other player to hit double-digits in the points column was freshman guard Keyondre Young. Young was one of three freshmen who saw action against Trinity Christian, scoring 13 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.

Valpo’s freshmen stood out against the NAIA team, each seeing over 20 minutes on the court. Freshman Darius DeAveiro had a team-high eight assists to go along with three steals.

Freshman guard Trey Woodyard, forward out of Ohio, also tallied six points and two assists. The freshmen are primed to be key depth players for Valpo moving forward.

“They executed our game plan,” Lottich said. “Like all young players, it’s great incorporating them into what you do. You’re going to need a lot of depth because there’s going to be a lot of unexpected things that happen. I think they can play for us for sure.”

Looking ahead to their next match- up, the Beacons will begin early Missouri Valley Conference play against Drake in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Dec. 2 matchup could prove to be a tough one for Valpo. The Bulldogs were picked first to win the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) in the Preseason Poll.

“We’re going to see pretty clearly where we’re at,” Lottich says, “I think we’ve gotten better every day. We’re going to go out there and try to compete.”

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