VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Alec Peters scored 20 points for his seventh straight 20-plus game and Valparaiso advanced to its first NIT semifinals with a 60-44 victory against Saint Mary's on Tuesday night.
Tevonn Walker opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer to give Valparaiso a 32-31 lead - its first since 17-16. Shane Hammink's putback extended it to 40-31 and capped a 16-0 run. Saint Mary's was held scoreless for nine-plus minutes, spanning the halves, and missed it first 10 shots of the second half.
The shooting troubles continued for Saint Mary's as the Gaels shot 20.7 percent in the second half and scored just 13 points.
Keith Carter added 11 points for Valparaiso (29-6) and Vashil Fernandez caused problems inside with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocks. Peters has totaled 74 points and 24 rebounds in three NIT games.
Peters sank a 3-pointer from the wing to cut Valparaiso's deficit to 31-29 at halftime. He scored 11 in the first half but the Crusaders were hurt by seven turnovers.
Dane Pineau led Saint Mary's (29-6) with 11 points. The Gaels made four of their first seven 3-pointers but hit 1 of 12 after that.
Valpo set an Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC) record with 5,444 attendees.