Coastal Carolina Edges Valpo in Nassau Championship Semifinal
The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team led by as many as eight midway through the second half in Tuesday night’s Nassau Championship semifinal in Nassau, The Bahamas, but Coastal Carolina clawed back in front and handed the Beacons a narrow 64-61 setback in a back-and-forth thriller. Sheldon Edwards (West Palm Beach, Fla. / Palm Beach Lakes [TLAP Sports Academy]) hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute, but the Chanticleers responded with a 3 of their own that stood as the difference in the game.
How It Happened
• The two teams exchanged defensive stops early before Thomas Kithier’s (Macomb, Mich. / Clarkson [Michigan State]) 3-point play started the scoring with 18:24 remaining in the first half.
• Offense was hard to come by in the early going. Edwards had a fastbreak jumper to snap a 5-5 tie with 13:38 left in the first half, then Kithier knocked one in to extend the lead to four at 9-5 with over seven minutes elapsed in the game.
• The Chanticleers scored seven straight points to take a 12-9 lead, then Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place]) ran off four points in a row before freshman Trey Woodyard (London, Ohio / International Sports Academy) knocked down a go-ahead triple. Woodyard’s first career 3 made it 16-14 Valpo with 8:21 left in the first.
• Edwards had a 3 that extended the lead to four with 4:45 left in the first half, and later Kevion Taylor (Milwaukee, Wis. / Whitnall [Winona State]) converted from distance to bolster the lead to five at 30-25 with 38 seconds left in the opening half. A Coastal Carolina free throw closed the first-half scoring and Valpo went into the break up 30-26.
• The second half started as a defensive battle as both teams went cold offensively over the first 5:35. Neither team made a field goal in that stretch as both teams went 0-for-6 shooting to begin the half.
• After the under-16 media timeout, the lid seemed to come off the basket at both ends of the court. After a Vince Cole layup cut Valpo’s lead to two and helped Coastal Carolina notch the first basket of the second half, Taylor responded with a 3 to up the lead back to five.
• The Taylor 3 represented the first of five straight made shots for the Beacons. Freshman point guard Darius DeAveiro (Kanata, Ottawa, Canada / Orangeville Prep) made plays during that stretch, assisting on an Edwards 3 before converting a fastbreak layup. His basket at 12:46 gave Valpo an eight-point cushion, its largest lead of the day.
• Valpo got a stop on the other end and had the ball looking to extend the lead to double figures, but that possession came up empty. Coastal Carolina carved into the lead, but Valpo boosted the cushion back to seven by the 10:05 mark, when Joe Hedstrom (Hopkins, Minn. / Hopkins [Wisconsin]) split a pair of free throws. Valpo was up 47-40 midway through the second half, but the Chanticleers scored the game’s next seven points to draw even.
• Valpo broke through a dry spell when Trevor Anderson (Stevens Point, Wis. / SPASH [Wisconsin]) created and hit a midrange jumper to tilt the lead back in the Beacons’ favor with 7:14 on the clock at 49-47. The two teams went back and forth the rest of the way.
• Taylor hit a few big-time 3s down the stretch, giving Valpo a 54-51 lead with 4:46 to go and later creating a 57-all deadlock with 2:39 on the clock. Coastal took the lead with 1:42 remaining on an Essam Mostafa layup, then Valpo couldn’t find the well after a baseline inbounds with three on the shot clock as CCU got a big stop.
• Coastal Carolina extended the lead on a Vince Cole layup with 57 seconds left, but Edwards drilled a game-tying 3 with 40 seconds to go.
• Rudi Williams responded by hitting a triple from the top of the key with 23 seconds remaining, putting Coastal back up by three at 64-61. Valpo’s last gasp was a deep 3 by Taylor that deflected on the heel of the rim, went high into the air, hit the front of the rim and then fell short with all zeros on the clock.
Inside the Game
• Kithier hauled in a career-high 12 rebounds, finishing one point away from a double-double. He surpassed his previous personal best of 11, which occurred on Nov. 13 vs. UIC. Kithier also gave out three assists and swiped a pair of steals.
• Taylor’s five 3-pointers marked his most in a Valpo uniform. His collegiate career high is seven on two occasions while at Winona State. His 15 points allowed him to finish in double figures for the second straight night and the fourth time in the first five games of the season.
• Edwards accumulated 13 points, reaching double figures for the fifth time in as many games this season and the sixth straight contest dating back to last year. He also handed out three assists.
• Krikke finished with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting and grabbed five rebounds while drawing four fouls, picking up a steal and blocking two shots in his second game since his return from an injury.
• The Beacons fell despite shooting at a higher clip than Coastal Carolina from the floor, the 3-point arc and the free-throw line. Valpo did lose the turnover battle 12-7 and the rebounding battle 42-36 as Coastal Carolina squeezed 15 offensive boards. Valpo was outscored in the paint 44-20.
• Valpo was on top for the majority of the game, holding the lead for 27:35 to Coastal Carolina’s 4:45. Valpo owned a halftime advantage for the first time this season.
• The 64 points represented the fewest Valpo has surrendered in a game this season and the fewest the team has permitted in any of its last seven games dating back to last season.
Valpo (1-4) will attempt to bounce back with a quick turnaround on Wednesday as the Beacons battle Tulane for third place in the Nassau Championship. The game will tip off at 4:30 p.m. Central Time and will be carried on FloHoops. In addition, the hometown radio call will be available on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, ValpoAthletics.com and the TuneIn Radio app.