Senior forward Ryan Broekhoff turned in a sizzling shooting performance, helping Valparaiso blow by Illinois-Chicago 86-61 in a Horizon League game Tuesday at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Ind.
Broekhoff had a game-high 22 points and six rebounds for Valparaiso (18-6, 8-2 Horizon). He made eight of 13 field-goal attempts, including six of nine from 3-point range.
The Crusaders have won eight of nine and 11 of the past 13 to move a half-game up on Detroit for first place in the league.
Senior center Josh Crittle and senior guard Daniel Barnes scored 12 points apiece for Illinois-Chicago (14-10, 5-6), which has lost nine of 14.
Illinois-Chicago led 7-2 less than three minutes into the game, but it was all Valparaiso from that point on. Broekhoff scored eight points in a span of 48 seconds, fueling a 15-0 run that put the Crusaders up 17-7 with 13:28 to go in the opening half.
The Flames cut the lead to five later in the half, but they trailed 44-27 at the break after being outscored 18-7 over the final 5:07. Valparaiso continued to dominate in the second half, leading by as many as 35 points before Illinois-Chicago cut the final margin.