Freshman Javon Freeman scored a career-high 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting and Valparaiso upset Illinois State 69-53 on Tuesday night.
Freeman sank 4 of 6 from 3-point range for the Crusaders (13-11, 6-5 Missouri Valley Conference) and added five rebounds, four assists, three steals and a blocked shot. Derrik Smits hit 8 of 10 shots and scored 16 for Valparaiso, which pulled into a third-place tie with Drake by ending a four-game skid. The Redbirds (14-10, 7-4) drop to second, one-game behind Loyola-Chicago, which already has a win over Illinois State this season.
Freeman hit two 3-pointers and added a 3-point play as Valparaiso jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back. Illinois State pulled within 25-21 on Zach Copeland’s 3-pointer, but Freeman scored the last six in an 8-0 run and the Crusaders increased their lead to 41-24 at intermission.
Copeland sank 4 of 7 from distance and was the lone Redbird to reach double figures with 17 points.