VALPO (4-7, 1-1 Mid-Con) at UMKC (5-7, 1-1 Mid-Con)
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 8 - 7 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: - none
THE COACHES: Valparaiso is guided by Homer Drew, who has a career record of 509-313 in his 27th season and a record at Valpo of 240-191 in his 15th season. UMKC is led by Rich Zvosec, who has a career mark of 135-186 in his 12th season and a record at UMKC of 32-38 in his 3rd season.
SERIES RECORD: Valpo leads 17-3
LAST MEETING: 2002-03 - Valpo won 71-50 in Mid-Con Tournament Semifinals.
LAST GAME: Valpo lost to IUPUI 79-67 on Monday in Valparaiso. UMKC defeated Chicago State 84-66 on Monday in Chicago.
NEXT UP: Valpo travels to play at Oral Roberts on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
A challenging early Mid-Con schedule continues on Thursday for Valpo as the Crusaders travel to play at UMKC beginning at 7 p.m. Valpo (4-7, 1-1) had a two-game winning streak snapped with Monday's 79-67 loss to IUPUI at the ARC. Three Crusaders scored in double figures as Dan Oppland and Ali Berdiel had 14 points, and Roberto Nieves netted 12. Kikas Gomes tied his career-high with five blocked shots. After UMKC, the Crusaders travel to Tulsa to play Oral Roberts on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
DAN OPPLAND ON A ROLL: Sophomore Dan Oppland has been very consistent the entire season. The 6'8" forward took over the team scoring lead (13.7 ppg.) after his career-high 23-point performance at Oakland. Oppland, who was selected to the Fiesta Bowl Classic All-Tournament Team, averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two games. Overall, he has scored in double figures in 10 of the 11 games and grabbed twin-digit rebounds three times.
GOMES MID-CON'S TOP REBOUNDER: Kikas Gomes, who is leading the Mid-Con in rebounding (10.1 pg.), has been a major factor on the boards over the last month. The 6'8" senior has averaged 11.4 rebounds over the last seven games. Gomes has six double-figure rebounding games over the last seven contests and has recorded five double-doubles (points and rebounds) during that span. He stands second on Valpo in scoring (12.5 ppg.) overall.
GOMES LEADS MID-CON IN BLOCKED SHOTS: In addition to topping the league in rebounding, Kikas Gomes leads the Mid-Con in blocked shots (2.0, 22 total) through Jan. 7. Gomes also leads the league in defensive rebounds (8.0 pg.).
HOWARD A DEFENSIVE PRESENCE: One of the major keys to Saturday's win over Oakland was Ron Howard's defense on the Golden Grizzlies' leading scorer Mike Helms. In the second half, Howard helped limit Helms to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
BERDIEL 2nd IN MID-CON IN ASSISTS: Junior Ali Berdiel ranks 2nd in the Mid-Con in assists through Jan. 7. The 6'6" guard averages 5.82 apg. (64 in 11 games).