Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Grafs' 21 Points, Staunch Defense Key Win Over Central Michigan

Monday, December 23, 2002

Valparaiso, Ind. - Raitis Grafs scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Valpo (5-4) to a 65-51 victory over Central Michigan (6-2). Grafs, who made eight of 16 shots, also grabbed six rebounds, blocked three shots and snagged two steals. The Crusaders, who have won three straight games, extended their homecourt win streak to 16.

Valpo's defensive pressure was constant throughout the entire game as the Chippewas were limited to 25 percent shooting (14 of 56). Central Michigan made seven of 29 shots in the first half (24 percent) and seven of 27 in the final 20 minutes (26 percent). After shooting 37 percent in the first half, the Crusaders responded by making 50 percent (12 for 24) from the floor in the second half.

The contest pitted the 6'11" Grafs against CMU's 7'0" Chris Kaman, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Kaman, who scored 13 points in the second half, was the lone Chippewa to score in double figures.

Ali Berdiel complemented Grafs with 12 points and four assists, and four other Crusaders added six-or-more points. Greg Tonagel had six of Valpo's 17 assists and Antti Nikkila tied Grafs with three blocked shots.

Valpo, which led 27-24 at halftime, began the second half by outscoring CMU 13-4. Two dunks by Grafs highlighted the run as Valpo led 40-28 with 14:17 remaining. A thunderous dunk by Stalin Ortiz gave Valpo its second 12-point lead of the game. The Chippewas slowly closed their deficit behind eight points by Kaman and trailed 49-42 at the 9-minute mark.

Grafs ignited the Crusaders again with a conventional three-point play and Kikas Gomes' free throw expanded Valpo's lead to 13 (55-42) with 7:16 left. Mike Manciel kept CMU close with four free throws to key a 9-2 run and cut Valpo' s advantage to 57-51. Grafs, a senior, once again led the Crusaders' charge with four points as Valpo finished the game outscoring CMU 8-0.

Valpo (21 of 32) and Central Michigan (21 of 29) nearly matched each other at the free throw line. Roberto Nieves, who added eight points and seven rebounds, joined Grafs and Dan Oppland by snaring two of the team's 10 steals. Valpo's bench outscored CMU's reserves 15-4. Three-point shooting was a non-factor as CMU finished two for 16 and Valpo was 0 for 6. Turnovers were almost even as CMU committed 18 to the Crusaders' 17.

Following a break to celebrate Christmas, Valpo begins a two-game road trip by facing Purdue on Saturday at 1 p.m. EST (noon CST).

W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo