First-Place Valpo Begins Two-Game Road Swing at Chicago State
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
VALPO (13-8, 7-1) at CHICAGO STATE (3-20, 0-9)

WHEN: Thursday, February 13 - 7 p.m. CST

WHERE: Jacoby Dickens Center, Chicago, Illinois

TV: (tape-delay) - None

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 has a career record of 13-8 in his 1st season. Chicago State is led by Kevin Jones, who has a career mark of 0-5 in his 1st season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 20-1
LAST MEETING: 1-18-03 - Valpo won 80-48 in Valparaiso.

LAST GAME: Valpo defeated Western Illinois 74-62 on Saturday in Macomb, Illinois. Chicago State lost to UMKC 59-56 last Saturday in Kansas City.

NEXT UP: Valpo travels to play at Southern Utah on Saturday at 8:35 p.m. CST (7:35 p.m. MST).

First-place Valpo (13-8, 7-1 Mid-Con) plays the second of three straight road games on Thursday night at Chicago State (3-20, 0-9 Mid-Con). The Crusaders defeated the Cougars 80-48 on Jan. 18 in Valparaiso. Stalin Ortiz scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the earlier meeting.

Valpo extended its win streak to two with Saturday's 74-62 victory at Western Illinois. Ortiz topped four Crusaders with 18 points. Raitis Grafs added 13 points and seven boards, while Kikas Gomes and Ali Berdiel tallied 10 points each.

Following Thursday, Valpo travels to play at Southern Utah on Saturday at 7:35 p.m. MST (8:35 CST).

ORTIZ STAYS HOT: Stalin Ortiz, who netted a career-high 29 points against Charlotte, has averaged 18.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game over the last seven games. The senior from Cali, Colombia also recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against UMKC. Ortiz, who scored 18 on Saturday in a road win over Western Illinois, has led Valpo in scoring in each of the last two games.

GRAFS CONTINUES TO ROLL: Raitis Grafs, who has earned Mid-Con Player of the Week honors twice this season, has continued his stellar play. In the last six games, Grafs has averaged 20.5 points and 6.2 rebounds. In an 84-71 win over Oral Roberts, the 6'11" senior scored 29 points. Over the last four games, Grafs made 33 of 52 shots (.635).

MORE GRAFS: With 1,481 career points, Raitis Grafs has moved into 7th place on Valpo's all-time scoring list. The native of Riga, Latvia is 3rd on the school's all-time rebounding list with 789. Grafs, Valpo's all-time blocked shots leader, now has 204. He also stands 8th on the Crusaders’ all-time steals list with 130.

TONAGEL LEADS MID-CON IN ASSIST/TURNOVER RATIO: Greg Tonagel tops the Mid-Con in assist/turnover ratio through games of Feb. 12. The 6'3" senior has earned a 3.0 ratio, averaging 4.0 assists and 1.3 turnovers per contest.

PASSING LANES: Ali Berdiel and Greg Tonagel have combined to average 10.5 assists per game over the last nine games. Berdiel has averaged 5.4 assists during that span, while Tonagel has dished out 5.1.