Valparaiso University headed into Friday night's match up against Green Bay in a three way tie, but Tevonn Walker had other plans, as he led the Crusaders to a victory and sole possession of first place in the Horizon League.
Walker stepped to the line with 20 seconds remaining as Valparaiso led 61-59, and was able to sink two free throws amidst dead silence that filled the Athletics Recreation Center in Valparaiso on this Friday the 13th night.
Not long after Valparaiso picked up their 10th conference win, they received more exciting news when Detroit's Juwan Howard Jr. knocked down a game winning three pointer to defeat Cleveland State. As a result of both, the Crusaders now find themselves atop the Horizon League standings alone with a 10-2 record.
In what started off just like the first match up against the Phoenix, an offensive struggle for both teams, Valparaiso was able to head into halftime up 29-23, despite committing 14 turnovers and Alec Peters being held scoreless. Green Bay was not able to capitalize only scoring 5 points off of those turnovers.
Peters would not be held scoreless for long in the second half. Alec was able to sink two free throws with 15:26 remaining in the second half that turned into 8 straight points for the sophomore who ended the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Walker not only made the two biggest free throws of the night he also was the leading scorer for Valparaiso ending the game with 20 points.
Green Bay was forced to finish the game with star player Keifer Sykes on the bench after suffering a jammed thumb. Green Bay's head coach Brian Wardle after he game said it was "best decision for the team" when asked about sitting out Sykes at the end of the close game. Sykes finished scoring only 7 points on 2-13 shooting.
Carrington Love was called on to score for the Phoenix, with Sykes sideline and Love answered by scoring 11 of his 15 in the second half.
Valparaiso was able to hold to the lead, despite missing 5 free throws in the last 1:09 of the game. Bryce Drew afterwards "I told the team they could fire me as their free throw shooting coach" as he smirked and chuckled.
The Crusaders will have to move on quickly from Friday night's win, as they are set to travel and play an afternoon game on Sunday against Milwaukee, who have won five straight home games.
Green Bay will look to bounce back on Wednesday, as Detroit is set to visit.