Crusaders Travel to Face Red-Hot Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Monday, December 9, 2002

WHEN: Wednesday, December 11 - 7 p.m. CST

WHERE: Klotsche Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

TV: (tape-delay) - AT&T Cable - Channel 43 - in Valparaiso. Dick Harlan announcing.

RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Drew Wolf announcing.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Scott Drew, who is 2-3 in his 1st season. Wisconsin-Milwaukee is led by Bruce Pearl, who has a career mark of 252-61 in his 11th season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 6-3
LAST MEETING: 2001-02 - Valpo won 82-69 in Valparaiso.

LAST GAME: Valpo lost to Loyola 80-62 on Saturday in Chicago. Wisconsin-Milwaukee defeated Southwest Missouri 86-77 on Saturday to win the Pizza Hut Classic Championship in Springfield, Missouri.

NEXT UP: Valpo hosts Samford on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

On Wednesday, Valpo (2-3) will conclude a three-game road stretch at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (5-2). The Crusaders are currently on a two-game losing skid following Saturday's 80-62 loss at Loyola. Raitis Grafs paced three players in double-digits with 14 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Stalin Ortiz added 12 points, four assists and four steals, and Greg Tonagel had 10 points and three assists.

Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been on a roll lately, winning four straight games. The Panthers captured the Pizza Hut Classic in Springfield, Mo. over the weekend, defeating host Southwest Missouri 86-77 on Saturday for the championship. Clay Tucker, one of eight seniors on the roster, led UWM with 25 points. A 6'3" forward, Tucker leads the Panthers with 17.4 ppg.

GRAFS 2ND IN MID-CON IN BLOCKED SHOTS: Raitis Grafs stands 2nd in the Mid-Con in blocked shots (1.6 pg.), 3rd in field goal percentage (.574), 4th in rebounding (7.6) and 6th in scoring (18.2 ppg.). Kikas Gomes is 4th in field goal percentage (.553) and 5th in free throw percentage (.812), Greg Tonagel ranks 4th in assist/turnover ratio (1.6), and Stalin Ortiz and Ali Berdiel are tied for 4th in steals (2.2 pg.).

HOME COOKIN' AWAITS: Following Wednesday's game, Valpo will begin a three-game homestand Saturday against Samford at 7:05 p.m.

CLEANING THE GLASS: Valpo has outrebounded four of its first five opponents (tied Loyola with 38) and holds a 38.2 to 33.0 advantage on the glass.

GRAFS, GOMES SHINE: Through the first five games, Valpo's frontcourt has been a bright spot. Raitis Grafs and Kikas Gomes have combined to average 30.4 ppg. and 13.8 rpg. A 6'11" senior, Grafs (18.2 ppg.) has scored in double-figures in all five games and has recorded a .574 field goal percentage. He scored a season-high 25 points in a win over Indiana State. Gomes (12.2 ppg., 6.2 rpg.) recorded a double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds) against Syracuse. A 6'9" junior, Gomes tallied a career-high 16 points against Northern Illinois.