Friday started with a three-way tie for first place atop the Horizon League. When the smoke cleared, Valparaiso is atop the leaderboard.
The Crusaders (23-4, 10-2 HL) built a 15-point lead in the second half, then saw a rally come up short in a 63-59 victory over the Phoenix (20-6, 9-3) at Valparaiso on Friday night.
Green Bay senior guard Keifer Sykes was limited on Friday night after suffering a hand injury in the first half. The reigning Horizon League Player of the Year had to watch much of the second half on the bench.
With the Phoenix trailing by 11 with 3:13 to play, junior Carrington Love scored nine points to spark a comeback. But Valparaiso hit four-straight free throws in their final two possessions to hold off Green Bay.
Rookie Tevonn Walker had 20 points to lead all scorers for Valparaiso. Carrington Love had 15 points to lead four Phoenix players in double figures.
Valparaiso now has a full 1-game lead on Green Bay and Cleveland State. The Vikings fell against Detroit 66-65 on Friday night.