Valparaiso loses 65-52 at No. 18 New Mexico
Ryan Broekhoff did everything he could to lead Valparaiso to a big win at No. 18 New Mexico on Saturday night.
He just didn't get much help.
Broekhoff had 24 points, but the rest of the Crusaders struggled to score in a 65-52 loss to the Lobos.
New Mexico (10-0) forced a season-high 23 turnovers, and turned them into 22 points. The Lobos also enjoyed a big advantage at the foul line, making 20 of 31 compared to 8 for 13 for the Crusaders.
''It's hard to win games with 23 turnovers, especially against a team as a good as New Mexico,'' Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. ''I think their length probably gave us some problems. There were some passes that we probably were able to complete against other teams that we weren't able to complete against their length.''
Broekhoff was 8 for 14 from the field, including a 5-for-10 performance from 3-point range. He also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
But the next highest scorer for the Crusaders was Kevin Van Wijk with seven points. Erik Buggs had six assists, but also had six turnovers.
''Going in, we thought we could turn them over,'' Lobos coach Steve Alford said. ''And I thought that was really good by our defense. That was 23 possessions that were empty and you do that against us at home and that makes it difficult. I thought was a big key tonight, forcing that many turnovers.''
Alex Kirk, Chad Adams and Demetrius Walker had 12 points apiece for New Mexico, which had just eight field goals in the first half and shot 42.6 percent for the game.
Valparaiso (6-3) tried to counteract the Lobos' athleticism with some deliberate play, Drew said.
''We didn't feel like this was a game that could be up in the 80s and for us to have a chance to win,'' he said. ''We felt like we had to keep the score down low against them. They're one of the most explosive teams in the country. A lot of teams go on 4-0 runs and they go on 14-0 runs.''
After a lackluster first half during which both teams struggled to score, New Mexico grabbed control right out of the locker room.
Van Wijk scored the first basket of the second half to get Valparaiso within two, but the Lobos responded with a 12-3 run. Tony Snell had a layup and a 3-pointer during the key stretch that gave New Mexico a 41-30 lead.
''I knew this was going to be a grind tonight,'' Alford said. ''I thought our guys did a tremendous job in each 20 minutes of just guarding. We held them to 25 in one half and 27 in the other half. We made things hard. We knew they would probably slow things down a little bit, which is fine. We've been able to play versatile styles.''
One of Kirk's biggest plays didn't show up in the box score. After Kendall Williams was intentionally fouled midway through the second half, Kirk grabbed him to keep Williams from retaliating.
Williams, one of the team's leaders, had six assists and three of New Mexico's nine steals.
The Crusaders forced 10 turnovers, but only created three points off the miscues.
Drew said he saw some things he liked.
''I really felt like our team improved physically,'' he said. ''We were able to adapt to a faster pace. It wasn't fast paced, but the action is happening a little quicker than sometimes what we're used to so I was pleased with the improvement that we showed from last week to this week.''