IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Dan Oppland scored 22 points and
Valparaiso held off a second half rally to beat Tulane 79-72 Friday
night in the first round of the Hawkeye Challenge tournament.
Valparaiso (3-0) led by as many as 22 points early in the second
half, but Tulane, fueled by a pesky full-court press, rallied
within seven points with 4:24 remaining.Down by 18 points with just under eight minutes to go, Green
Wave forward Donnie Stith sank a short jumper, beginning a 17-4 run
over a 2½-minute span.But the Crusaders' clutch free throw shooting in the final five
minutes kept the Tulane comeback in check. Valparaiso made 15-of-18
free-throw attempts during that stretch, including 5-of-6 from
Oppland.The Crusaders also got 18 points from Ron Howard and 13 from
Mohamed Kone. Valparaiso shot 40 percent in the game, 74 percent
from the free-throw line and forced 22 Green Wave turnovers,
including 14 in the first half.Quincy Davis led Tulane (1-3) with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Andrew Garcia scored 14 points, including six points in the final
2½ minutes, and Stith added 12 before fouling out at the 2:10 mark.The Green Wave were their own worst enemy early in the second
half, committing a flurry of turnovers and taking nearly five
minutes to score its first field goal.The Crusaders seemed in control, and Howard's free throw at the
11:16 mark put Valparaiso up 50-28.The Green Wave shot 43 percent, but hit just 2-of-14 3-point
attempts and 60 percent from the free-throw line.Valparaiso advances to the championship game against the winner
of the second game Friday between Fairfield and tournament host,
No. 14 Iowa.