Valpo Opposes #4 Duke On Thursday At Cameron Indoor Stadium
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
VALPO (13-11) at #4 DUKE (22-3)

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 26 - 8:05 p.m. CST (9:05 p.m. EST)

WHERE: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C.

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

TV: ESPN2 - Dave O'Brien and Brad Daugherty announcing.

THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 518-317 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 249-195 in his 15th season. Duke is led by Mike Krzyzewski, who has a career mark of 685-237 in his 29th season and a record at Duke of 612-178 in his 24th season.

SERIES RECORD: First Meeting

LAST GAME: Valpo lost to Southern Utah 75-58 on Saturday in Cedar City, Utah. Duke defeated Maryland 86-63 on Sunday in Durham, N.C.

NEXT UP: Valpo hosts IPFW on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. on Senior Night.

Valpo (13-11) steps onto the national stage on Thursday by opposing #4-ranked Duke (22-3) at 8:05 p.m. CST (9:05 p.m. EST) at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The game, the first-ever between the schools, will be televised live on ESPN2.The Crusaders have won nine of their last 11 games and are currently part of a four-way tie for first place (10-4) in the Mid-Continent Conference (with IUPUI, Centenary and Oral Roberts). Valpo is coming off a 75-58 loss at Southern Utah. Kenny Harris (career highs of 12 points, 10 rebounds) and Kikas Gomes (10 points, 10 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles. Duke, in first place in the ACC with an 11-2 record, defeated Maryland 86-63 on Sunday in Durham, N.C. J.J. Redick led the Blue Devils with 20 points, while center Shelden Williams tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Luol Deng added 17 points.

DAN OPPLAND NAMED CoSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT V: Dan Oppland was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District V University Division Team by the district's sports information directors. A 6'8" sophomore forward from St. Louis, Mo./Whitfield, Oppland has earned a 3.436 grade point average in sports management. Oppland leads the Crusaders with 15.3 ppg. He averages 6.9 rpg. and owns a .545 field goal percentage. Oppland's name will now appear on the ballot for Academic All-America.

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 six games, Oppland has averaged 17.3 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 22 of the 24 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds five times. He has been impressive in Mid-Con games, averaging 16.9 ppg. and shooting .559 from the field. Oppland stands 2nd overall in the Mid-Con in offensive rebounding (3.08 pg.), 4th in field goal percentage (.545), 6th in rebounding (6.9 pg.), 8th in free throw percentage (.788) 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 950 points. Gomes is also climbing Valpo's all-time blocked shots list, ranking 3rd with 104. With 652 career rebounds, Gomes stands 9th on Valpo's all-time list and needs 10 to move into 8th.

BERDIEL 14th NATIONALLY IN ASSISTS: Ali Berdiel ranks 14th in the nation in assists (6.3 pg.) through Feb. 23. The junior has vaulted up Valpo's all-time charts in assists and steals. Berdiel ranks 7th in assists with 355 and 9th in steals with 133. This season, Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists and 2nd in steals (1.88 pg.).

GOMES LEADS MID-CON IN BLOCKED SHOTS; RANKS 2nd IN REBOUNDING: Kikas Gomes leads the Mid-Con in blocked shots (1.96 pg., 47 in 24 games) and stands 2nd in rebounding (9.2 pg.) through Feb. 24. Gomes, who has 11 double-doubles on the season, has blocked 25 shots over the last 11 games.