Valparaiso, IN – On a day when Valparaiso honored its seniors before its final home game of the season, junior Alec Peters recorded another double-double, his 11th of the season, to lead the Crusaders to a 90-74 victory over Detroit. The win improved the Crusaders’ record to 24-5 overall, 14-2 in conference and clinched the Horizon League regular season championship for Valparaiso for the fourth time in the last five years.
Although he did not match his 39-point outburst from Valparaiso’ first match-up of the season against the Titans in a January game Detroit, Peters needed only 12 shots to score 32 points. He collected a game-high 11 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive glass.
A native of Washington, Illinois, the 6-9 Peters is a face-up forward with range behind the three-point line. With Detroit switching between man and zone defenses in the first half, Peters connected on his first four attempts from distance and led all scorers with 16-first half points.
Peters shoots with great balance and pace. When given space, something the Titans did probably more than they wanted, Peters collects himself and delivers a picture-perfect shot landing in the same spot he started his jump. The ball comes off his hand the same every time with true rotation and high arc. When defenders close out quickly to his shot, Peters can quicken his release without affecting the accuracy of his shot.
Six of Peters’ 15 free throws, he made 13, came after being fouled on three-point shot attempts. Most of the other nine came after collecting offensive rebounds and getting fouled on put-back shots.
“I get up for every game,” said Peters. “Today was a product of getting open looks and my teammates finding me.”
Another junior, Shane Hammink, came off the bench to score 14 points in only 19 minutes to finish second to Peters on Valparaiso scoring list. The son of former NBA center Geert the left-handed shooting Hammink connected on all three of his three-point attempts, brought down four rebounds and assisted on three of his teammates’ baskets. “I was just finding my flow,” Hammink. “I was trying to stay aggressive and everything was working out for me.”
The loss snapped a four-game road winning streak for Detroit and dropped the Titans records to 15-13 overall and 9-8 in conference. The Titans were led by sophomore Paris Bass, who overcame a slow start to score 28 points and grab seven rebounds, both team highs.
The reigning Horizon League freshman of the year, Bass spreads 200 pounds over his 6-8 frame. Built along the lines of star Duke freshman Brandon Ingram, Bass has great length and jumps quickly as he did in the second half after stealing a pass, going three-quarters court on the dribble and finishing above the rim through a foul.
The Birmingham, Michigan native scores at all three levels. He connected on both his shots from behind the arc, dribbled into two pull-up jump at the free throw line and attacks the rim off the bounce to finish in the paint. One of the few blemishes to his game comes at the free throw line, where he entered the game converting on only 67 percent of his shots and did not help his percentage making only 6-of-11 against the Crusaders.
Detroit got strong production from its starting backcourt as Carlton Brundidge and Anton Wilson combined for 36 points. A powerfully built 6-2, Brundidge used his upper body strength to penetrate the Valparaiso defense to score in the paint in accounting for the first six Detroit points of the game on his way to a 19-point effort.
Wilson compliments Brundidge nicely doing most of his damage from the outside. Entering the game shooting an impressive 44 percent from behind the three-point line, Wilson connected on 4-of-10 attempts from distance en route to scoring 17 points.
Whereas Detroit starters accounted for all of its 74 points, Valparaiso got contributions from its bench. Led by Hammink’s 14 points, Valparaiso rotational players added 29 points to the Crusaders’ total. “One of the strengths of this team is its depth,” said Valparaiso Coach Bryce Drew.
Clinching the Horizon League championship at home game gave the Crusaders the opportunity to share the experience with a near capacity crowd of over 4,000 fans who filed into the Athletic and Recreational Center on the Valparaiso campus. It also presented a nice platform for the four Valparaiso seniors to address the crowd after the net-cutting ceremony.
“I’m so happy for our four seniors to end with a win and win the conference championship,” said Drew. “We want to celebrate this and get refocused for our two final road games heading into the conference tournament.”
“It feels real good right now and it will feel real good tomorrow, but we still have two games left and we have every intention of winning both games,” added Peters.
Valparaiso travels to the state of Wisconsin for its two final games starting with a February 26 match-up at Milwaukee. Detroit returns to its home state for a February 26 match-up at Oakland.
This article was written by Tom Osowski, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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