Cameron Morse scored a game-high 23 points, but the Youngstown State men's basketball team fell 96-65 to Horizon League-leading Valparaiso on Monday evening at Beeghly Center.
Morse, who came into the game averaging a league-best 26 points in conference play, was 10-of-16 from the field for his 23 points. Bryce Nickels scored a career-high 11 points in 21 minutes off the bench, and Jordan Andrews joined them in double figures with 12 points.
Valparaiso had four players score in double figures while improving to 16-3 overall and 6-0 against the league. Alec Peters scored 18 points in just 14 minutes, and Darien Walker matched him with 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench. The duo combined to go 8-for-9 from 3-point range.
The Crusaders outshot the Penguins 47.2 percent to 41.4 percent, but they also attempted 14 more field goals and two more free throws because of 21 offensive rebounds. Valparaiso converted those offensive rebounds into 23 points, and the Crusaders also got 53 points from their bench.
Peters hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions early in the first half as Valparaiso scored the game's first 10 points, but YSU hung tight and trailed 16-10 after a Morse bucket at the 11:27 mark. Valparaiso then scored eight straight points in just over a minute as part of a prolonged 21-4 spurt that put the Crusaders ahead 43-18 at the 4:57 mark. Valpo led 52-28 at halftime, and its largest lead came at 69-30 with 13:23 left.
Valparaiso scored 10 of its first 14 points on offensive rebounds, and the Crusaders were 7-of-15 from 3-point range in the first half. They finished 10-of-27 from beyond the arc while making 18-of-19 at the free-throw line.
The Penguins begin a string of three straight away contests against Cleveland State on Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.