The top-seeded Valparaiso Crusaders (26-7) defeated the Wright State Raiders (21-12) 62-54 to win the Horizon League championship.
They got the job done, but it was not pretty.
Valparaiso turned the ball over 24 times, 14 of which came in the second half. However, the 18-4 run the Crusaders made at the end of the game sealed the deal to get them in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
The Raiders had an equally up and down performance, coming from 11 behind at the half to a six point lead with six minutes left in the game. Despite the strong second half, the Raiders did not score again until the final minute of the game.
Wright State entered the tournament as the third seed and shot only 38.9% from the field. They were led by Reggie Arceneaux whose 14 points made him the only Raider to score in double figures.
Erik Buggs was the game’s high scorer for Valparaiso with 22 points. Leading scorer of the season, Ryan Broekhoff (16.2 PGG), only managed to bring in 7 points for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso owns one of the great NCAA Tournament moments when Bryce Drew, now the head coach of the Crusaders, made a legendary last minute shot to vault the 13-seed Valparaiso over 4-seed Ole Miss. Drew’s brother Scott is the head coach at Baylor.