Auburn Hills — Valparaiso senior forward Ryan Broekhoff picked the wrong day to lose his shooting touch.
The 14th-seeded Crusaders fell to No. 3 Michigan State, 65-54, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon, and their star player finished with eight points on 2-of-11 shooting.
"It's just the game of basketball," Broekhoff said. "Sometimes it goes your way; sometimes it doesn't."
After the game at The Palace of Auburn Hills started to an 8-8 tie, little went Valparaiso's way. The Spartans went on a 24-4 run stretching 10 minutes during the first half and led by 27 in the second half.
"They just got a little bit more physical, and they were a little bit quicker to the ball," Valparaiso guard Erik Buggs said. "We just turned the ball over a little bit, and when they started making shots, we kind of got a little bit tight."
Broekhoff and Buggs were visibly upset in their postgame news conference, and Broekhoff was still fighting tears 15 minutes after the game. They are among Valparaiso's six seniors.
"Sometimes we can't control shots going in," Crusaders coach Bryce Drew said. "We can control our effort; we can control our character. And I thought for 40 minutes our effort and character made their coach proud today."
A main reason things didn't go Broekhoff's way was clamp-down defense by Michigan State forward Branden Dawson.
"With his kind of length, I kind of rushed my shot a little bit," Broekhoff said of Dawson. "He did a tremendous job guarding me."
Broekhoff averaged 15.9 points and 7.3 rebounds this season, but never found a rhythm Thursday. After shooting 43.2 percent on 3-pointers this year, he went 1 for 9 from long range in the loss.
"(Dawson) did a great job on Broekhoff," Michigan State point guard Keith Appling said. "Every time that he was able to score, it was off one of our mistakes, so throughout the course of the game I thought (Dawson) did a pretty good job of trailing him around and contesting his shots."
Broekhoff also had five rebounds, but the work on the boards was largely Valparaiso's downfall as Michigan State won the rebounding battle 49-23. The Crusaders had no defense for Spartans center Derrick Nix, who finished with 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
"He just sealed us a little bit too low," Broekhoff said. "With his size and his skill level around the hoop, it's almost impossible to guard him."