VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Derrik Smits scored 11 points off the bench and Valparaiso held on to beat Southern Illinois 55-52 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game skid.
The Crusaders (14-14, 7-8 Missouri Valley Conference) trailed 28-24 at the break but surged 9-0 to open the second half and Jaume Sorolla capped the run with a dunk to give them a 33-28 lead. Valparaiso stretched it to 55-46 with 2:07 to play but Southern Illinois closed in after that, cutting it to the final margin with just under a minute left. The Salukis (14-14, 7-8) missed two 3-point attempts after that as the Crusaders held on for the win.
Deion Lavender added 10 points and seven rebounds for Valparaiso. Jaume Sorolla had eight points and four blocks.
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