Valparaiso (1-0, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #2 - Sunday, November 16 - 5 p.m.
at Missouri (0-1, 0-0 SEC)
Mizzou Arena (15,061) - Columbia, Mo.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Valparaiso looks to make it a perfect opening weekend of play Sunday evening as the Crusaders travel to Columbia, Mo. to take on SEC foe Missouri. The game can be seen live nationally on the SEC Network.
Last Time Out: It was a mix of the old and the new for Valparaiso in its season-opening win Friday night at the ARC over East Tennessee State, 90-76. Sophomore Alec Peters led the way for the Crusaders with 27 points, but three newcomers also joined him in double figures - Darien Walker (20), Tevonn Walker (16) and David Skara (11). Valpo connected at a 50% clip from the floor, including 10-of-18 from beyond the arc.
Following the Crusaders: Audio - Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WJOB, 1230 AM, Hammond) - Todd Ickow (PxP) and Aaron Leavitt (Color)
Television - SEC Network - Tom Hart (PxP) and Jon Sundvold (Color)
Links for the audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (67-36) is in his fourth season at the helm of the Crusader men's basketball program in 2014-15. In his first three years, Drew has led Valpo to 66 victories and postseason berths in each of his three seasons. The 2012 HL Coach of the Year, Drew ascended to the head coaching position on May 17, 2011 after spending six seasons as an assistant and associate head coach with the Crusaders.
Series Notes: This marks the fourth meeting in the all-time series between Valpo and Missouri. The Tigers have earned wins in all three previous meetings, including most recently on Dec. 30, 2003 by a 65-47 final. Rickey Paulding led the Tigers in that game with 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting, while Stalin Ortiz came off the bench to pace Valpo with 13 points and six rebounds.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- @ValpoBasketball has been picked to finish in fourth place in the league standings in 2014-15 in preseason polling.
- The Crusaders have not finished worse than their preseason projection in the last four years.
- Sophomore Alec Peters was the lone underclassman on the preseason #HLMBB First Team All-League squad.
...looking back at last year
- @ValpoBasketball won 18 games and finished in fourth place in the #HLMBB regular season.
- The Crusaders advanced to the postseason for the fourth straight year, falling in the first round of the CIT to Columbia.
- Lavonte Dority was a First Team All-League selection and also earned All-Region honors.
- Alec Peters and Lexus Williams were both named to the league's All-Freshman Team.
...notes from ETSU
- Friday’s result was a 25-point turnaround from last year, when Valpo lost at ETSU, 73-62.
- The Crusaders out-rebounded the Bucs by ten (42-32), something they didn’t do the last 11 games last season.
- Valpo hit ten 3-pointers and shot 55.6% from deep, while limiting ETSU to 8-of-24 from downtown.
- The Crusaders placed four players in double figures for the first time since a 63-60 win over Oakland on Feb. 9, 2014.
- 90 points is the most scored in a season opener against a D-I team by the Crusaders since they moved to Division I.
- This was the tenth straight win in a home opener for Valpo, nine of which have come by double figures.
- @ValpoBasketball returns home to the ARC Wednesday evening, as the Crusaders host IU South Bend.
- Valpo will then play a pair of games at Central Michigan next weekend, taking on Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Maine.
...on the road
- Valpo is looking to flip its luck away from home this year, after going just 5-9 on the road last season.
- The Crusaders have struggled in non-league road contests the past four years, going 7-19 in such games.
- Missouri went 23-12 last year and finished sixth in the SEC with a 9-9 mark, advancing to the second round of the NIT.
- First-year coach Kim Anderson returns just four letterwinners from last year’s squad.
- The Tigers dropped their season opener to UMKC on Friday evening, 69-61.
- Mizzou was led in that contest by freshman guard Montaque Gill-Caesar, who tallied 21 points, but went just 9-of-23 from the field.
Beating the Power Conferences
- Valpo is looking for a second straight season with a win over a power-conference team, as the Crusaders defeated UCF (AAC) last year.
- Prior to that, the Crusaders had last defeated a major-conference team when they downed Washington in the 2008 CBI.
- Valpo’s most recent win over a current SEC team came against Mississippi State in 1999 - the Crusaders beat SEC teams in three straight years.
Who's Back This Season
- @ValpoBasketball returns just seven letterwinners from its 2013-14 team, returning 48.3% of scoring and 56.8% of rebounding.
- Leading the returnees is preseason First Team All-League selection Alec Peters (12.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
- Jubril Adekoya (5.8 ppg, 53.7% FG%) and Vashil Fernandez (58 blocks last year, fourth-most in program history) also are returning starters.
- Five eligible newcomers also join the fray in 2014-15 - two with junior eligibility and three freshmen.
- Sophomore Lexus Williams returns as well, but is expected to miss the entire season.
- Bryce Drew is in his fourth season as head coach of @ValpoBasketball and is in his tenth season overall on the coaching staff.
- Last season, Drew led the Crusaders to 18 wins and their fourth straight postseason berth.
- In 2012-13, Drew guided Valpo to its second straight regular season title, its first tournament title and a school record 26 wins.
- Drew was named #HLMBB Coach of the Year in 2011-12 in his first season as head coach - 22 wins and #HLMBB regular season title.
- Drew was the first Crusader men’s basketball Coach of the Year since 2001-02, when dad Homer won the honor in the Mid-Con.
- Prior to coaching, Drew spent seven seasons playing professionally, including six seasons in the NBA.
- Drew was a two-time Mid-Con MVP in his playing days with Valparaiso, helping the team to three NCAA tournament appearances.
- Drew hit “The Shot”, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament, to lift the Crusaders over Ole Miss.
- “The Shot” was named one of the top-35 All-Time Madness Moments by the NCAA as part of the celebration of 75 Years of March Madness.
- Bryce is the third member of the Drew family to serve as head coach of @ValpoBasketball.
- Father Homer was head coach from 1988-2002, and then returned to lead Valpo from 2003-11.
- Brother Scott (current head coach of @BaylorMBB) led the Crusaders during the 2002-03 season after nine seasons as an assistant under Homer.
- A Drew has been at the helm of the Crusaders for the last 26 years. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- The Drew family has combined to lead @ValpoBasketball to 457 victories and 12 postseason appearances. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- Overall, the trio of Drews owns 932 collegiate victories over a combined 45+ seasons of head coaching. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- @ValpoBasketball boasts one of the nation’s highest-scoring staffs, as a trio of coaches combined for 4,211 points during their D-I careers.
- Head coach Bryce Drew scored 2,142 points during his four-year career with the Crusaders.
- Assistant coach Roger Powell Jr. tallied 1,178 points during his four-year career with Illinois.
- Assistant coach Matt Lottich poured in 891 points over his four-year career at Stanford.
- Assistant coach Luke Gore also played collegiately at NAIA Bethel [Tenn.] College.
- Peters tied for game-high honors with 27 points in the season-opening win over ETSU.
- Peters went 9-of-15 from the field, hit four 3-pointers and grabbed six rebounds in the win over the Buccaneers.
- Peters was a preseason First Team All-League selection after earning All-Freshman team honors last year as a rookie.
- Peters averaged 12.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg last year, becoming the highest-scoring Valpo freshman since 1998-99.
- A four-time #HLMBB Freshman of the Week, Peters also grabbed the most rebounds by a Valpo freshman since 1999-2000.
- Peters led the Crusaders in scoring 12 times in 2013-14 and in rebounding on nine occasions.
- Peters finished his freshman year tenth in the league in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and 3-pointers/game.
- Peters scored 30 points twice as a rookie, only the fifth Crusader to score 30 or more twice in a career in the last two decades.
- Peters paced the Crusaders in scoring in eight of the season's final ten games.
- Fernandez grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots in the season opener vs. ETSU.
- Fernandez averaged 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as a junior, and blocked 58 shots - fourth-most in a season in Valpo history.
- Fernandez averaged 2.4 blocks/game in league play, second-most in the Horizon League.
- Fernandez led Valpo in rebounding nine times and blocked at least three shots on nine occasions.
- Fernandez matched the program record for blocks in a game with seven rejections last year at UIC.
- Fernandez set new career bests last season with 14 points (Murray State) and 14 rebounds (at East Tennessee State).
- Fernandez spent summer of 2014 playing for the Jamaican national team at FIBA Centrobasket.
- Carter appeared in each of the final 22 games of the 2013-14 season after becoming eligible, averaging 5.7 ppg and 2.3 apg.
- Carter connected at a 40% clip from 3-point range in his first year as a Crusader.
- Carter scored in double figures three times last year, including a career-best 19 points in come-from-behind win over UIC.
- Carter handed out at least four assists on six occasions, including a season-best six assists against Youngstown State.
- Carter, a former Illinois Mr. Basketball runner-up, came to Valpo after spending the first half of his freshman year at Saint Louis.
- Adekoya tallied eight points and grabbed six rebounds in the season-opening win over ETSU.
- Adekoya appeared in all 34 games as a rookie for Valpo in 2013-14, starting 24 times and averaging 5.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
- Adekoya shot at a 63.6% clip from inside the 3-point line on the season.
- Adekoya led the Crusaders in rebounding four times and scored in double figures on seven occasions.
- Adekoya scored a season-high 13 points at Youngstown State and pulled down a season-best nine rebounds at Detroit.
- Chadwick played seven minutes off the bench in the exhibition game against GVSU, and three minutes in the opener vs. ETSU.
- Chadwick appeared in 12 games last season in his first season playing for the Crusaders, scoring career-best 14 points vs. Cincinnati Christian.
- Chadwick appeared in 52 games over his first two collegiate seasons at Rice.
- Davidson came off the bench to play five minutes in Valpo's exhibition win over GVSU.
- Davidson appeared in 14 games off the bench as a freshman, going for seven points and five assists in a win over Cincinnati Christian.
- Davidson was the area Player of the Year following his senior year at Andrean [Ind.] H.S.
E. Victor Nickerson
- Nickerson scored two points and grabbed six rebounds in 12 minutes of action off the bench in the exhibition win over GVSU.
- Nickerson sat out last season after transferring to Valpo from Charlotte.
- Nickerson appeared in 60 games for Charlotte over his first two years, starting 15 times as a sophomore.
- Nickerson was an Honorable Mention All-State selection as a senior in HS, helping lead Norcross to Georgia 5A state title.
- Joseph played 14 minutes in the season-opening win over ETSU, scoring three points.
- Joseph was a RSEQ Second Team All-Star in his senior season at Vanier College.
- Joseph earned First Team All-Star honors at the national tournament, helping lead Vanier to a berth in the bronze medal match.
- Skara scored in double figures off the bench in the season opener vs. ETSU, going for 11 points and five rebounds in just 15 minutes.
- Skara spent last season at Midwest Elite Prep (Ind.) Academy, averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game for the Warriors.
- Skara represented Croatia at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, helping team to the bronze medal.
- Skara appeared in four games at that tournament, recording ten points and five rebounds in a win over South Korea.
- Walker scored 20 points in the season-opening win over ETSU, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
- Walker scored 14 of his points against the Buccaneers in the first half, including four triples.
- Walker spent last season at John A. Logan College, where he averaged 13.4 ppg and was a First Team All-Region 24 selection.
- Walker played as a freshman at Arizona Western College, registering 11.1 ppg and 4.4 rpg.
- Walker helped Chicago powerhouse Simeon H.S. to back-to-back Illinois 4A state titles.
- Walker made his Crusader debut in the season opener against East Tennessee State, starting and playing a team-high 32 minutes.
- Walker finished with 16 points, including a perfect 8-8 from the foul line, and also handed out three assists without a turnover.
- Walker was an All-Canadian selection as a senior and ranked as high as eighth in his class nationally.
- Walker was league Player of the Year as a senior at Vanier College, leading the league and ranking 14th nationally with 20.8 ppg.
- Williams is expected to miss the entire season after suffering an offseason knee injury.
- Williams was a Horizon League All-Freshman Team selection as a rookie last year.
- Williams appeared in all 34 games for the Crusaders as a freshman, averaging 6.5 ppg and 2.4 apg.
- Williams led the team as a freshman with 35 steals.
- Williams scored in double figures eight times, including a career-best 22 points in a win at Detroit.