March 15, 1998
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Only Hoosiers might know Valparaiso is in Indiana. Now
everyone is sure where the Crusaders are headed – to the round of 16.
Valparaiso took another big step in its surprise run by beating Florida
State 83-77 on Sunday, sending the smallest school in the NCAA tournament to
its first regional semifinal.
Bob Jenkin and Antanas Vilcinskas made follow shots in the final two minutes
of overtime as Valparaiso won its 13th straight game. The Crusaders (23-9) will
play the winner of Sunday’s Kansas-Rhode Island game in St. Louis next Friday.
Bryce Drew, the hero of a 70-69 first-round upset of Mississippi, scored 22
points and made two free throws to ice it with 8.3 seconds left. But follow
shots by Jenkins with 1:31 left, and another by Vilcinskas with 25.3 seconds
remaining, knocked out the Seminoles, a No. 12 seed and the final at-large team
selected for the tournament.
Valparaiso’s appearance in the final 16 will be only the second time in
history of the tournament that a No. 13 seed has made it that far. Richmond did
it in 1988.
The Crusaders’ Bill Jenkins made one of two free throws with 30.5 seconds
left to tie it 75-all after Ronald Thompson had missed a free throw for Florida
Drew, whose buzzer-beating 3-pointer eliminated Mississippi, deflected
Thompson’s shot with three seconds to go and the game went into overtime.
Jamie Sykes added 19 points for the Crusaders, champions of the
Florida State was led by Randell Jackson and Kerry Thompson with 16 points
The Crusaders built a 64-56 lead on a basket by Drew, but the Seminoles went
ahead 67-66 on two free throws by Terrell Baker with 4:54 left.
Valparaiso, a six-point underdog, survived a 15-0 Florida State run and a
six-minute scoreless spell midway through the first half to trail by only 41-38
Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which lost six of its last
seven games, beat No. 5 seed Texas Christian 96-87 on Friday. The Seminoles
last made it to the final 16 in 1993.