Valpo Concludes Homestand Against Oakland Thursday
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
VALPO (8-9, 5-3 Mid-Con) vs. OAKLAND (8-12, 2-6 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 29 - 7:05 p.m. CST

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

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

TV: (tape-delay) - Channel 56 - Dick Harlan and Joe Arredondo announcing. Airs same night at 9 p.m. Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Airs Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 513-315 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 244-193 in his 15th season. Oakland is led by Greg Kampe, who has a career mark of 331-231 in his 20th season and a record at Oakland of 331-231 in his 20th season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 11-0
LAST MEETING: Jan. 3, 2004 - Valpo won 79-76 at Oakland

LAST GAME: Valpo defeated Southern Utah 76-69 on Saturday in Valparaiso. Oakland defeated UMKC 82-67 on Saturday in Rochester, Michigan.

NEXT UP: Valpo travels to play at Western Illinois Saturday at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, Valpo (8-9, 5-3 Mid-Con) takes a four-game winning streak against Oakland (8-12, 2-6). The game concludes a four-game homestand for the Crusaders. After defeating Southern Utah 76-69 last Saturday, Valpo moved into a tie for third place in the Mid-Con with Chicago State (4-2). The Crusaders trail first-place Oral Roberts (6-2) by one game and second-place IUPUI (5-2) by a half game.

Against Southern Utah, Ali Berdiel recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists, while picking off a career-high five steals. Roberto Nieves tallied a season-high 17 points and six rebounds. Kikas Gomes contributed 15 points and seven rebounds, and Dan Oppland added 14 points and seven boards. Valpo travels to play Western Illinois Saturday at 8 p.m.

BERDIEL DEMONSTRATES COMPLETE GAME: In the last five games, Ali Berdiel has provided solid numbers in several areas. The 6'6" junior has averaged 17.4 ppg., 8.6 assists and 3.6 rpg. during the stretch. Through games of Jan. 28, Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists with 6.59 per game (112 in 17 games) and 5th in steals (1.82 pg.).

DAN OPPLAND PLAYING AT HIGH LEVEL: Sophomore Dan Oppland has been the model of consistency. The 6'8" forward, who leads the team in scoring (14.8 ppg.), has tallied double-figure points in 16 of the 17 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds three times. He has been particularly impressive in Mid-Con games, averaging 17.1 ppg. and shooting .598 from the field. Oppland stands 2nd overall in the Mid-Con in offensive rebounding (3.24 pg.), 4th in field goal percentage (.559), 7th in rebounding (6.8 pg.) and 10th in free throw percentage (.787).

GOMES LEADS MID-CON IN REBOUNDS, BLOCKED SHOTS: Kikas Gomes, who has nine double-doubles on the season, leads the Mid-Con in both rebounding (9.9 pg.) and blocked shots (2.0 pg., 34 in 17 games) through Jan. 28. Gomes has blocked 12 shots over the last four games.

FRESHMEN MILES, SYLLA, HARRIS MAKING NOISE: Freshmen Jimmie Miles, Oumar Sylla and Kenny Harris have been coming on strong recently. Miles scored a team-high 17 points against Western Illinois. Sylla, who has become a major defensive force, established his career high for the second straight game with 13 points against Centenary after netting 10 versus Western Illinois. Harris has ignited Valpo off the bench in the pivot, scoring a career-best nine points against Centenary and grabbing a career-most seven rebounds against WIU.

VALPO LEADS MID-CON IN TWO DEFENSIVE CATEGORIES: The Crusaders have played solid defense this season as evidenced by their leadership of two Mid-Con categories. Valpo tops the league in field goal percentage defense (.413) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.307).