BY: TYLER PHILLIPS
In a nationally televised contest, Eastern came up short against Valparaiso, 82-60.
The matchup between Valparaiso and Eastern was one between two of the best mid-major teams in the country, but Eastern couldn’t hang with Valpo in the second half.
Before the game, head coach Jeff Neubauer said that the game against a team like Valpo would be good for the team.
“This really is an important game for our team,” he said. “It has nothing to do with the OVC standings, it has nothing to do with seeding for the OVC tournament. But getting to play a team of Valpo’s stature, they are the most experienced team in the country, is great for our guys.”
The Colonels (22-7) shot just 33 percent in their road contest against Valpo (22-7). This was the opposite of Valpo, who shot 71 percent in the second half and 68 percent for the game.
Sophomore Corey Walden led Eastern with 20 points with senior point guard Mike DiNunno right behind with 19. The Colonels put together a run toward the end of the first half that gave them the lead, 25-24, but that was the only lead for Eastern in the game.
Valpo had five players score 10 points or more, and 10 players scored during the game.
Eastern has lived by the 3-point shot all season, but the Colonels couldn’t put together a run of three’s like in previous games. The Colonels were just 7-26 (27 percent) from arc during the game.
Even though the Colonels did not come out of Valparaiso with a win, it marked a huge step for the program. Eastern’s game was one of 13 games that were chosen for a televised ESPN matchup.
The Colonels wrap up their regular season play away against Tennessee Tech on Feb. 28 and against Tennessee State on March 2.