Valparaiso continues to have Cleveland State's number on the basketball court.
The Crusaders' 80-72 victory Saturday afternoon at the Wolstein Center was their fourth straight over the Vikings. Valpo has won six of the last eight games against CSU.
"They didn't beat us today. We beat ourselves," CSU head coach Gary Waters said. "We scored 72 points. If we score 72 on anybody, we win. We didn't play any defense. That junk I seen today was the worst I've seen in history. And I'll put that on me."
Waters said he will take the blame for the defense because they were playing the "wrong defense."
"We could've guarded this team much easier," Waters said. "We were so concerned with them shooting threes. But, what you have to do is take away their layups and make them beat you."
The Crusaders (19-6, 9-2 Horizon League) shot 55.1 percent from the field and held advantages in points in the paint (36-28) and points off turnovers (27-13).
"I felt we didn't play disciplined defense," freshman guard Bryn Forbes said, who led the Vikings with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. "We didn't have enough energy today."
Senior guard Ryan Broekhoff led a balanced scoring attack for Valparaiso with 15 points. The Crusaders also got double-digit scoring from Kevin Van Wijk (14 points), Bobby Capobianco (13 points), Will Bogan (11 points) and Erik Buggs (11 points, eight assists).
"I thought Buggs was the reason they won today," Waters said. "I thought he did a great job of executing their offense and getting great penetration."
CSU also got double-digit scoring from Marlin Mason with 16 points and Tim Kamczyc with 10.
The Crusaders scored the first 12 points and never looked back.
CSU (12-13, 4-7 HL) didn't score its first basket until 5:41 into the game on a jumper by Forbes. The Vikings started the game 0-for-6 with three turnovers.
"I thought we came out with a lot of energy and were able to get some stops early and get out in transition," Valpo head coach Bryce Drew said.
A three-pointer by Forbes got CSU within six, 20-14, but that would be the closest it would get for the rest of the game.
Then, CSU got careless with the basketball again and turned it over on five of its next six possessions, as Valpo used a 13-1 run to take a 33-15 lead with 6:30 left before the half.
The Crusaders shot 60.9 percent from the field in the opening half to take a 44-30 advantage at the intermission.
CSU would outscore the Crusaders 42-36 in the second half, but they never got closer than eight points.
"We missed eight layups, six of them were uncontested," Waters said. "[When you miss layups], it melts you down. You feel like it's a mountain too big to climb."
The Vikings held advantages in rebounding (33-20) and second-chance points (19-6).
CSU travels to Detroit on Tuesday night.
Tom Mieskoski is a contributor to Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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