Dec 28, 2001
By MEL REISNER
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. - Milo Stovall matched his season high with 20 points as Valparaiso beat West Virginia 76-57 Friday night in first-round action at the Bank One Fiesta Bowl Classic.
The Crusaders will meet Pepperdine or No. 14 Arizona, the second-game pairing, on Sunday for the tournament championship.
Raitis Grafs had 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for the Crusaders, setting a school career record for blocks (128). Lubos Barton had 12 points and Stalin Ortiz and Antonio Falu 10 each as Valparaiso(10-3) won for the seventh time in eight games.
Chris Moss had 19 points and eight points for the Mountaineers (7-3), who dropped their third game in the last six. Lionel Armstead scored 11.
Valparaiso went on a 19-2 run to start the second half, taking a 50-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Stovall 4:46 in, and the Mountaineers never recovered.
Drew Schifino had four points in 47 seconds after the Crusaders got the 16-point lead, getting West Virginia within 52-38 with 13:33 to play, but Valparaiso pulled away, using superior rebounding and defense.
The Crusaders outrebounded the Mountaineers 9-4 in the first 12 minutes of the second half and had a 21-10 edge in takeaways.
The Mountaineers used 3-pointers by Armstead and Josh Yeager to take an 8-0 lead in the first 2:16, but Valparaiso caught up at 22-22 on a basket by Raitis Grafs with 7:12 left in the first half.
West Virginia led 32-31 at halftime.
But Stovall had 11 points, including a four-point play, during the second-half turnaround.