The Crusaders (17-12, 7-9) have won three of their last four games. The Panthers (13-14, 8-8) lost their third consecutive game and sixth of their last seven.
Milwaukee has only had 10 players since four left the program in December, and against Valparaiso the Panthers had leading rebounder Marcus Skinner and leading scorer Paige Paulsen injured in the opening minutes.
Skinner hurt his lower right leg and left one minute into the game. He never returned.
Paulsen, averaging 14.1 points, was poked in the right eye by Howard Little while fighting for a rebound 2 1/2 minutes later and left the game. Paulsen returned for the second half but scored only 4 points.
Down by a dozen at halftime, the Panthers outscored the Crusaders 10-2 to open the second period and pull within 30-26. Averkamp had 7 points to fuel the run.
Paulsen and Allan Hanson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Panthers within a point at 50-49, but that was as close as they could get as McPherson nailed a 3-pointer.
Valparaiso was on top 28-16 at halftime.