Basketball is a team game, but sometimes the team with the one best player has all the advantage it needs if that player is good enough. Valparaiso’s Alec Peters is good enough, and as a result of his play Alabama fell to the Crusaders, 68-60, Monday night in the semifinal game of the Las Vegas Main Event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Valpo was led by preseason player of the year Alec Peters, who finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Jubril Adekoya had 16, while Shane Hammink had 10.
The Crimson Tide will take on Saint Louis in the consolation game on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. CST (6:30 p.m. PST). The contest can be seen on youtube.com/bdglobalsportc.
“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” Alabama Coach Avery Johnson said. “We didn’t get off to a good start. And because we didn’t get off to a good start, they kind of set the tone early. We got a little bit stagnant on offense, we got in the bonus too early when we were on defense. So the aggressor won the game tonight, and the team that played the smartest.”
Senior Corban Collins and junior Riley Norris led the Tide in scoring with 10 points each, while sophomore Donta Hall finished with nine points along with a career-best 12 rebounds. Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram had eight points and a game-high five assists.
It was a back-and-forth contest that featured five ties and six lead changes. The Tide held a one-point lead, 45-44, with just under 12 minutes remaining. However, Valpo would go on an 11-2 run over a span of six-plus minutes to take a 55-47 lead with 5:29 remaining. The Tide kept fighting and cut the lead to four points, 64-60, with 43 seconds left but would not get any closer.
In the first half, Alabama shot 50 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the arc. The Tide outscored the Crusaders in the paint, 24-8, and received 18 points from the bench, compared to four points from its counterparts. However, Alabama trailed by three at halftime, 34-31.
Alabama finished the game 23-of-56 (.411) from the floor and 6-of-21 (.286) from beyond the arc, while Valpo connected on 23-of-49 (.469) shots from the field and 7-of-18 (.389) from deep. The Tide held a 35-32 edge on the glass.