VALPO (12-10, 9-4 Mid-Con) vs. UMKC (12-10, 7-4 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 14 - 7:08 p.m. CST
WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana
RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Drew Wolf announcing.
TV: Channel 56 - Dick Harlan and Joe Arredondo announcing. Airs same night at 9 p.m. Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Airs Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 517-316 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 248-194 in his 15th season. UMKC is led by Rich Zvosec, who has a career mark of 142-189 in his 12th season and a record at UMKC of 39-41 in his 3rd season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 17-4
LAST MEETING: Jan. 8, 2004 - UMKC won 60-59
LAST GAME: Valpo defeated Oral Roberts 84-73 on Thursday in Valparaiso. UMKC defeated Western Illinois 74-52 on Thursday in Macomb, Ill.
NEXT UP: Valpo plays at Southern Utah next Saturday at 8:35.
After closing the gap on first place, Valpo (12-10, 9-4) hosts UMKC (12-10, 7-4) in another key Mid-Continent Conference game. The Crusaders own the most wins in the league following Thursday's 84-73 victory over Oral Roberts. IUPUI (8-3) stands in the top spot based upon winning percentage. Valpo, UMKC and Centenary each have four losses. UMKC is coming off a 74-52 win at Western Illinois.
In Thursday's win, Valpo placed five players in double figures, led by Ali Berdiel with 17 points. Roberto Nieves scored 14, Oumar Sylla netted 13, Kenny Harris had 12 and Kikas Gomes added 10. The Crusaders never trailed in winning their second straight game.
UMKC was led by Michael Watson's 26 points in its win.
FRESHMEN HITTING STRIDE: The freshman class of Kenny Harris, Jimmie Miles, Oumar Sylla and Moussa Mbaye has been very productive recently. Over the last two games, Sylla has averaged 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds, Harris has tallied 10.0 ppg. and 5.5 rpg., and Miles has added 8.0 ppg. and 2.5 assists.
DAN OPPLAND CONTINUES STELLAR PLAY: Sophomore Dan Oppland, who has demonstrated consistency all season, has been particularly red-hot in recent games. Over the last four games, Oppland has averaged 18.3 ppg., scoring a career-high 23 points vs. Chicago State and 22 each against Western Illinois and Centenary. The 6'8" forward, who leads the team in scoring (15.3 ppg.), has tallied double-figure points in 20 of the 22 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds four times. He has been impressive in Mid-Con games, averaging 17.2 ppg. and shooting .557 from the field. Oppland stands 2nd overall in the Mid-Con in offensive rebounding (3.05 pg.), 5th in field goal percentage (.543), 6th in rebounding (6.8 pg.), 7th in free throw percentage (.794) and 9th in scoring.
GOMES NEARING 1,000-POINT MILESTONE: Kikas Gomes is approaching the 1,000-point milestone in his three-plus years career. The senior from Angola, who averages 12.5 ppg., has scored 923 points. Gomes is also climbing Valpo's all-time blocked shots list, ranking 4th with 100.
BERDIEL MOVING UP CHARTS: Ali Berdiel has vaulted up Valpo's all-time charts in assists and steals. Entering Saturday's game, Berdiel ranks 7th in assists with 345 and 9th in steals with 132. This season, Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists with 6.41 per game (141 in 22 games) and 2nd in steals (2.0 pg.).In the last 10 games, Berdiel has provided solid numbers in several areas. The 6'6" junior has averaged 15.2 ppg., 7.2 assists and 3.6 rpg. during the stretch.
GOMES LEADS MID-CON IN BLOCKED SHOTS; RANKS 2nd IN REBOUNDING: Kikas Gomes leads the Mid-Con in blocked shots (1.95 pg., 43 in 22 games) and stands 2nd in rebounding (9.1 pg.) through Feb. 13. Gomes, who has nine double-doubles on the season, has blocked 21 shots over the last nine games.