Valpo Hosts Charlotte In Final Non-Conference Game
Monday, February 3, 2003
VALPO (11-8) vs. CHARLOTTE (8-10)

WHEN: Tuesday, February 4 - 7:05 p.m. CST

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

TV: (tape-delay) - Channel 56 - Dick Harlan and Joe Arredondo announcing. Airs same night at 9 p.m.

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 11-8 in his 1st season. Charlotte is led by Bobby Lutz, who has a career mark of 269-151 in his 14th season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 2-0
LAST MEETING: 2001-02 - Valpo won 70-63

LAST GAME: Valpo lost to UMKC 71-68 in overtime on Saturday in Valparaiso. Charlotte lost to South Florida 67-64 on Saturday in Tampa.

NEXT UP: Valpo travels to play at Western Illinois on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CST.

After finishing the first half of the Mid-Continent Conference season in first place with a 6-1 record, Valpo (11-8) concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule by hosting Charlotte (8-10) Tuesday. The Crusaders had a school-record 20-game homecourt winning streak broken on Saturday by UMKC in overtime (71-68). Raitis Grafs topped Valpo with 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Stalin Ortiz recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Ali Berdiel added 11 points and tied his career-high with eight assists. Last season, Valpo defeated Charlotte 70-63 in North Carolina.

HOMECOURT STREAK REVISITED: The Crusaders' school-record 20-game homecourt winning streak covered over 14 months. It began on Nov. 24, 2001 with an 82-69 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to Saturday's loss to UMKC, Valpo's last loss at the ARC was to Purdue (73-69) on Nov. 16, 2001. The Crusaders are 9-1 at home in 2002-03.

GRAFS CONTINUES TO ROLL: Raitis Grafs, who earned Mid-Con Player of the Week honors on Jan. 27, continued his stellar play last week. In two games, Grafs averaged 26.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. In an 84-71 win over Oral Roberts, the 6'11" senior scored 29 points. He added 24 points on Saturday against UMKC. For the week, Grafs made 20 of 29 shots.

MORE GRAFS: With 1,451 career points, Raitis Grafs has moved into 8th place on Valpo's all-time scoring list. The native of Riga, Latvia is 3rd on the school's all-time rebounding list with 776. After blocking two shots on Saturday, Valpo's all-time blocked shots leader now has 200.

TONAGEL LEADS MID-CON IN ASSIST/TURNOVER RATIO: Greg Tonagel tops the Mid-Con in assist/turnover ratio through games of Feb. 3. The 6'3" senior has earned a 2.92 ratio, averaging 4.0 assists and 1.4 turnovers per contest.

ORTIZ ON HOT STREAK: Stalin Ortiz has averaged 17.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game over the last five games. The senior from Cali, Colombia recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against UMKC.

THE ROAD AWAITS: Following Tuesday's game, Valpo will prepare for a three-game road stretch. The Crusaders travel to play Western Illinois on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. On Feb. 13, Valpo plays at Chicago State before travelling to Southern Utah for a Feb. 15 contest.