Behind a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds from reigning Horizon League Player of the Year Ryan Broekhoff, Valparaiso defeated Northern Illinois, 69-46, Tuesday morning at Athletics-Recreation Center in Indiana.
Valparaiso (2-0) shot 13-of-24 from three-point range as a team, using the dribble-drive to effectively penetrate the Northern Illinois (0-2) defense and create open shots on the perimeter.
Turnovers plagued the Crusaders in the first half and kept Northern Illinois within seven at halftime, but better ball protection in the second half helped Valparaiso widen the gap.
Guard Matt Kenney added 16 points for the Crusaders on 6-of-8 shooting.
Northern Illinois has been without perhaps its best player, Abdul Nader, who was suspended Friday for an unspecified number of games for violating team rules. He averaged 10.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season as a freshman.
The Huskies shot just 29 percent from the field and had just one player in double figures. Aksel Bolin narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Valparaiso, the Horizon League favorites this season, take on their first BCS opponent when they meet Nebraska on Thursday.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Marshawn Wilson, a freshman guard, made a pretty good first impression to Northern Illinois fans, jumping over 6-foot-8 teammate, Jaylen Key, on Thursday night during the Hukies’ midnight madness.
Wilson is five inches shorter.
The Huskies are coming off a 14-18 (8-10 MAC) season. Northern Illinois begins the 2015-16 campaign against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 13, the first of three games in as many days.
Georgia State’s Ron Hunter appears to have recovered from the Achilles tendon tear he suffered last March while celebrating the Panthers winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title.
On Thursday night, at the third annual GSU Jam, Hunter broke out the dance moves to the song “Hit The Quan” by iHeart Memphis.
Georgia State went on to defeat No. 3 seed Baylor in the Round of 64, thanks to a game-winning three from Hunter’s son, R.J. That shot made for one of the best moments of March Madness, as Ron Hunter fell of his rolling chair in disbelief.
R.J. Hunter is nowa a rookie with the Boston Celtics. Ron Hunter enters his fifth season with the Panthers.