VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Derrik Smits finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and Valparaiso turned back Northern Iowa 75-66 on Saturday.
Smits sank 9 of 18 from the floor to help the Crusaders (12-7, 5-1 Missouri Valley Conference) shoot 51 percent for the game (26 of 51). Bakari Evelyn came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers and score 14, while Markus Golder added 13 points and six boards. Valparaiso had a 34-20 rebound advantage and that led to a 14-4 edge in second-chance points. Valparaiso also outscored the Panthers (8-11, 3-3) 34-14 in the paint.
Golder scored all of his points in the first half to help the Crusaders take a 36-30 lead at intermission. NIU trailed 52-48 after McDonnell's 3-pointer with 9:58 left to play, but Evelyn's 3-pointer capped a 6-0 run and Valparaiso kept it a two-possession game from there. The Panthers shot 44 percent from the floor, but made just 7 of 24 from distance (29 percent).
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