Valpo Hosts Oral Roberts As Mid-Con Race Tightens
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
VALPO (11-10, 8-4 Mid-Con) vs. ORAL ROBERTS (13-8, 6-4 Mid-Con)

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 12 - 7:05 p.m. CST

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

RADIO: WEFM (95.9, Michigan City), WVUR-FM (95.1, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow and Andrew Stem 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. 14 at 2 p.m.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 516-316 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 247-194 in his 15th season. Oral Roberts is led by Scott Sutton, who has a career mark of 71-68 in his 5th season and a record at ORU of 71-68 in his 5th season.

SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 9-8
LAST MEETING: Jan. 10, 2004 - ORU won 87-81 in OT

LAST GAME: Valpo defeated Chicago State 79-68 on Saturday in Chicago. Oral Roberts lost to IUPUI 104-96 in double overtime on Feb. 5 in Tulsa.

NEXT UP: Valpo hosts UMKC on Saturday at 7:08 p.m.

On Thursday, Valpo (11-10, 8-4 Mid-Con) begins a two-game homestand by entertaining Oral Roberts (13-8, 6-4) at 7:05 p.m. The Crusaders and Centenary are one-half game behind first-place IUPUI (8-3), while ORU and UMKC are 1 1/2 games from the top spot in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Valpo, winners of seven of its last eight, is coming off a 79-68 win at Chicago State. Dan Oppland led the Crusaders with 23 points and seven rebounds. Oumar Sylla established career highs with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists. ORU, currently on a three-game losing streak, lost to IUPUI in double overtime last Thursday in Tulsa. The Golden Eagles have played just three games over the last 19 days.

VALPO HOSTS UMKC ON SATURDAY: Valpo will celebrate Valentines Day on Saturday by hosting UMKC at 7:05 p.m. in another crucial Mid-Con game. The game was inadvertently left off the schedule cards.

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 three games, Oppland has averaged 22.3 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 (15.8 ppg.), has tallied double-figure points in 20 of the 21 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds four times. He has been impressive in Mid-Con games, averaging 18.1 ppg. and shooting .575 from the field. Oppland stands 2nd overall in the Mid-Con in offensive rebounding (3.19 pg.), 5th in field goal percentage (.553), 5th in free throw percentage (.810), 6th in rebounding (6.9 pg.) 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 12.6 ppg., has scored 913 points. Gomes is also climbing Valpo's all-time blocked shots list, ranking 4th with 98.

BERDIEL MOVING UP CHARTS: Ali Berdiel has vaulted up Valpo's all-time charts in assists and steals. Entering the game with ORU, Berdiel ranks 7th in assists with 339 and 9th in steals with 128. This season, Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists with 6.43 per game (135 in 21 games) and 2nd in steals (1.9 pg.).In the last nine games, Berdiel has provided solid numbers in several areas. The 6'6" junior has averaged 15.0 ppg., 7.3 assists and 3.3 rpg. during the stretch.

GOMES LEADS MID-CON IN REBOUNDING, BLOCKED SHOTS: Kikas Gomes leads the Mid-Con in blocked shots (1.95 pg., 41 in 21 games) and is tied for the rebounding lead (9.2 pg.) through Feb. 11. Gomes, who has nine double-doubles on the season, has blocked 19 shots over the last eight games.