Smits with 22 points leads Valparaiso over Drake 69-64
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Derrik Smits scored a career-best 22 points and grabbed six rebounds and Valparaiso closed out the regular season with a 69-64 win over Drake on Saturday.
Smits was 10 of 14 from the field for the Crusaders (15-16, 6-12 Missouri Valley Conference), who finish last in conference and will not see tournament play. Markus Golder added 13 points and nine rebounds and Tevonn Walker had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Valparaiso led 28-14 with 6:10 to go in the first half but Drake finished on a 16-2 run to tie it up at 30-30 at the break.
Smits scored eight points as part of a 23-14 run to open the second half and Golder capped it with a dunk, lifting the Crusaders to a 53-44 lead with 10:02 to play. Drake cut it to 63-61 with 29 seconds remaining but could not get closer.
Reed Timmer scored 28 points for the Bulldogs (16-15, 10-8) who finish tied for third along with Illinois State, securing a place in the conference tournament.