Valpo Hosts South Florida In Home Opener
Monday, November 24, 2003
VALPO (1-1) vs. SOUTH FLORIDA (1-0)

WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 25 - 7:05 p.m. CST

WHERE: ARC, Valparaiso, Indiana

TV: - (tape-delay) - Comcast Cable - Channel 43 in Valparaiso - Dick Harlan announcing.

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

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 506-307 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 237-185 in his 15th season. South Florida is led by Robert McCullum, who has a career mark of 45-45 in his 4th season and a record at USF of 1-0 in his 1st season.

SERIES RECORD: South Florida leads 2-0
LAST MEETING: 1980-81 - South Florida won 74-61

LAST GAME: Valpo was edged 75-70 by #23-ranked Marquette on Saturday in the championship game of the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic in Milwaukee, Wis. South Florida defeated Florida Atlantic 79-66 on Friday in Tampa, Fla.

NEXT UP: Valpo hosts Cincinnati on Tues., Dec. 2 at 7:05 p.m. CST.

On Tuesday, Valpo (1-1) plays its home opener, hosting South Florida (1-0) in the first of a five-game homestand. The Crusaders challenged Marquette, the #23-ranked team in the nation at the time, the entire way, falling 75-70 Saturday in the championship game of the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic. Valpo, which sank 11 of 21 3-pointers overall, raced out to an 11-0 lead and led 34-30 at halftime. Roberto Nieves topped the Crusaders with 17 points, draining 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
South Florida, the second of three straight Conference USA opponents for Valpo, is coming off a 79-66 season opening victory over Florida Atlantic last Friday. The Crusaders host Cincinnati next Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.

Oppland, Gomes, Berdiel Named to the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic All-Tournament Team: Three Crusaders were named to the all-tournament team: Dan Oppland, Kikas Gomes and Ali Berdiel. Oppland, a 6'8", sophomore, averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 18 points in the 72-53 win over Arkansas-Monticello, making 8-of-9 free throws. In the championship game against Marquette, Oppland scored 11 points and grabbed a career-high 9 rebounds. Gomes, a 6'8" senior, averaged 11.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, while Berdiel, a 6'6" guard, dished out 8.5 assists and scored 7.0 points per game. Berdiel had a career-high 10 assists against Marquette, while Gomes grabbed 15 rebounds and netted 12 points against Arkansas-Monticello.

Miles & Colclasure Ignite Valpo Bench: In the two games at the Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic, freshman Jimmie Miles and sophomore Seth Colclasure played key roles off the bench. Miles scored eight points against Marquette and helped spark a second-half surge with seven points against Arkansas-Monticello. Colclasure swished 5-of-7 3-pointers in Friday's win, finishing with a career-high 15 points.

Sylla, Diarra Have Reunion: Valpo freshman Oumar Sylla and South Florida freshman Konimba Diarra, both natives of Mali, were teammates at Our Savior New American School in Centerreach, N.Y.

CHAMPIONSHIP RUN NATION'S BEST: By winning eight of the last nine Mid-Con regular season titles, Valpo has won the most championships of any school in the nation during that span.

GOMES EARNS PRESEASON HONORS: Kikas Gomes was selected Preseason Second Team All-Mid-Con by the league's Coaches, SIDs and Media. Last season, the 6'8" senior from Angola was accorded honorable mention All-Mid-Con status after averaging 9.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.