Valparaiso (8-1, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #10 - Saturday, December 6 - 7:05 p.m.
New Mexico (4-3, 0-0 Mountain West)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Winners of seven in a row and boasting an 8-1 record on the year, Valparaiso returns home to the ARC for the first time in nearly three weeks on Saturday evening, hosting a perennial Mountain West power in New Mexico. The Crusaders are in search of just their second 9-1 start since moving to Division I.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso men’s basketball team improved to 8-1 on the season and won its seventh straight game, utilizing a key 13-0 run late in the second half to pull away from Eastern Kentucky, eventually hanging on for a 72-66 victory over the Colonels Wednesday evening in Richmond, Ky. The Crusaders, led by 21 points on seven 3-pointers from Alec Peters, snapped EKU’s 25-game non-conference home court winning streak with the win.
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 David Huseman (Color)
Video - ESPN3.com - Andy Masur (PxP) and Tim Doyle (Color)
Links for the audio and video, as well as live stats, will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (74-37) is in his fourth season at the helm of the Crusader men's basketball program in 2014-15. In his first three years, Drew 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: The Crusaders and Lobos have matched up just twice in program history, with New Mexico winning both previous matchups. Saturday’s game is the return leg of a home-and-home series, as Valpo fell 65-52 to New Mexico at The Pit on Dec. 8, 2012 despite 24 points from Ryan Broekhoff. Even though the game was just two seasons ago, only two players combined from this year’s rosters - Vashil Fernandez (Valpo) and Hugh Greenwood (NM) played in that contest.
...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 Eastern Kentucky
- Valpo snapped EKU’s 25-game home non-conference winning streak with the win on Wednesday night.
- The Crusaders pulled away with a 13-0 run late in the second half, going from up 52-49 to up 65-49 with 3:20 to play.
- Keith Carter assisted on the first four of Valpo’s five baskets during the run, totaling a career high tying seven assists on the night.
- Alec Peters matched his career high with seven 3-pointers in the win, leading all players with 21 points.
- Peters is one of just two players in program history with multiple games of at least seven 3-pointers (Bryce Drew).
- Vashil Fernandez was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor, the best shooting performance of his career.
- @ValpoBasketball plays three consecutive home games, hosting Trinity International (Dec. 10) and Ball State (Dec. 13) next week.
- The Crusaders then have a week off before playing at IPFW.
...at the ARC
- @ValpoBasketball has 14 regular season home games scheduled for the ARC in 2014-15. #ValpoGameday
- The Crusaders posted a 12-6 mark at the ARC last season.
- Valpo is a perfect 2-0 at the ARC so far this year, beating East Tennessee State and IU South Bend.
- Over the last 20+ years, @ValpoBasketball owns a 237-56 (.809) record on its home court.
- The Crusaders have not lost a non-conference regular season home game by more than two points since Dec. 7, 2010.
- New Mexico enters Saturday’s game at 4-3 on the season, coming off a 57-44 win in a rivalry game over New Mexico State.
- The Lobos were picked to finish third in the Mountain West in the conference’s preseason poll.
- The Lobos have been to the NCAA Tournament four of the last five years and won 27 games a season ago.
- Deshawn Delaney is their leading active scorer at 13 ppg - Cullen Neal averaged 17 ppg in their first three games before suffering injury.
Peters - #HLMBB’s Best
- Sophomore Alec Peters was named #HLMBB Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for a second straight week after his MVP performance at the Challenge in Music City.
- Peters averaged 18.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in the Crusaders’ three wins, hitting 53.8% from the field and 10-of-17 from 3-point range.
- Peters claimed his first career Player of the Week honor from the Horizon League office the previous week, also earning CSM honors.
- Peters averaged 21.3 ppg and 6.0 rpg that week while shooting 69.7% (23-of-33) from the floor and 50% (7-of-14) from 3-point range.
- Peters leads #HLMBB in scoring (19.4 ppg) and ranks among the top-five in field goal pct., 3-point pct. and 3-pointers/game.
- Peters also leads #HLMBB in Offensive Rating [a measure of personal offensive efficiency] among players who use at least 20% of their team’s possessions at 137.9, 15 points higher than anyone else in the league.
- Peters has had four ORating games of at least 150 this year after posting six such games all of last season.
- Peters’ three 30-point games since the start of last season is the most over that stretch by any current #HLMBB player.
- Peters’ great start to the year has him third nationally in 3-point pct. (.604), 37th in 3-pointers/game (3.2) and points/game (19.4) and 41st in field goal pct. (.590).
- Vashil Fernandez currently ranks 31st nationally in blocked shots/game (2.7).
- As a team, the Crusaders are 16th in 3-point pct., 19th in rebound margin (+9.9), 29th in field goal pct. (.493) and 33rd in scoring margin (+16.3).
- @ValpoBasketball enters Wednesday with a 8-1 record, matching the program’s best record through nine games since moving to D-I.
- The Crusaders were previously 8-1 through nine games in 2007-08 [started 10-1] and 1998-99 [started 8-1].
- Valpo has won seven games in a row to set its longest winning streak under Bryce Drew [won six in a row twice in 2012-13].
- The Crusaders are looking for their eighth straight win for the first time since an eight-game winning streak in 2007-08.
- The win at Eastern Kentucky was Valpo’s first of the season that didn’t come by at least 13 points.
- Even with the single-digit win at EKU, there wasn’t much drama down the stretch, as the closest the Colonels got was five points with ten sconds to play.
- The 59-46 UAPB win was the previous closest of the year for Valpo, but even that was a 21-point game in the final minutes.
- The Crusaders won six consecutive games by double figures, the first time they have achieved that since a streak in the middle of the 2005-06 season.
Dominance Away From Home
- Valpo currently holds a 6-1 record away from the ARC, including a 5-0 mark in neutral-site contests.
- The Crusaders’ six wins in such games are the most of any team in the nation.
- Valpo is one of 12 teams with seven or more games away from home so far - the other 11 are a combined 15-65 in such games.
To Three or Not to Three...
- @ValpoBasketball has been on an alternating pattern of hot and cold from behind the 3-point line to start the 2014-15 campaign.
- Starting with the year’s first game, the Crusaders have made at least ten 3-pointers in every other game, hitting at a .519 clip from deep in those five contests.
- Last time out at EKU, Valpo went 11-of-21 from behind the arc.
- But in the games against Missouri, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Drake and Portland, the Crusaders were just 23-of-77 (.299) from downtown.
- Overall, Valpo is hitting at a .425 clip from deep on the year, 16th in the nation, and ranks fourth nationally with 77 3-pointers made.
Versatility in the Lineups
- Valpo has started a three-guard lineup in each of the last six games, a group which has been +62 while on the court together.
- But the Crusaders can also go big, running lineups on the floor which include four players at 6’7” or taller.
- The Crusaders have used 6’8” E. Victor Nickerson at point guard for stretches, and even have used 6’7” Jubril Adekoya at the point occasionally.
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.
Lots of New Faces
- Nearly half of the @ValpoBasketball roster (6 of 14 players) is new to the program this season.
- Five players are eligible for the first time this season, including Charlotte transfer E. Victor Nickerson, who sat out at Valpo last year.
- Darien Walker came to Valpo from junior college, while Max Joseph, David Skara and Tevonn Walker are all true freshmen.
- Shane Hammink (LSU) and Chandler Levingston Simon (UMKC) both transferred to Valpo last off-season and have to sit out this year.
The International Flavor
- This year’s squad continues the international pipeline that @ValpoBasketball has cultivated over the past two decades.
- The Crusaders boast five international players on this year’s roster from four different countries.
- Represented are Canada (Joseph, T. Walker), Croatia (Skara), Jamaica (Fernandez) and Netherlands (Hammink).
- The duo from Canada mark the first Canadian players in program history.
- Over the past two decades, @ValpoBasketball has welcomed 31 international players from 18 different countries.
- Crusader signee Daniel Relvao is from Portugal and will become the first Portugese player in program history when he joins in 2015-16.
In the Crusaders’ Future
- Daniel Relvao and Derrik Smits have both signed NLIs to join @ValpoBasketball as freshmen for the 2015-16 campaign.
- Relvao (6’9”, 235 lbs.) hails from Coimbra, Portugal and currently plays prep ball at Mountain Mission [Va.] School.
- Relvao averaged 8.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 3.3 bpg for Portugal last summer in Division B of the FIBA U18 World Championship.
- Smits (7’0”, 230 lbs.) will join Valpo from Zionsville [Ind.] H.S., where he averaged in double figures last season & also posted 3.6 rpg and 1.8 bpg.
- Smits is the son of former Indiana Pacers star center Rik Smits.
- 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 465 victories and 12 postseason appearances. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- Overall, the trio of Drews owns 947 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 matched his career high last time out with seven 3-pointers, leading all scorers with 21 points and grabbing seven rebounds at EKU.
- Peters was named MVP of the Challenge in Music City last weekend and named #HLMBB Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.
- Peters scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win over Murray State, and scored 20 points in the win over Portland.
- Peters was named to the All-Tournament Team at CMU and was named #HLMBB Player of the Week.
- Peters set a new career high with 31 points (9-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 9-10 FT) in the win over Maine.
- Peters is one of just three Crusaders with three 30+ point games in their careers in the last two decades.
- Peters went 8-of-9 from inside the arc in a 19-point, seven-rebound performance in the win over UAPB.
- Peters tied for game-high honors with 27 points in the season-opening win over ETSU, going 9-of-15 from the floor.
- 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 paced the Crusaders in scoring in eight of the season's final ten games.
- Fernandez was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field for 12 points and six rebounds last time out in the win at EKU.
- Fernandez averaged 5.0 points and 6.7 rebounds/game at the Challenge in Music City, registering ten boards and three blocks vs. Portland.
- Fernandez was named to the All-Tournament Team at CMU.
- Fernandez was one off his career high with six blocked shots and also scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in the win over Maine.
- Fernandez recorded 11 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in the win over UAPB.
- Fernandez registered his third career double-double in the win versus IUSB, scoring 13 points and pulling down ten rebounds.
- 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 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 the summer of 2014 playing for the Jamaican national team at FIBA Centrobasket.
- Carter matched his career high with seven assists and scored nine second-half points last time out in the win at EKU.
- Carter scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the victory over Drake and recorded a career-high four steals the next night versus Murray State.
- Carter handed out a career-best seven assists in the win over UAPB.
- Carter tallied ten points and five rebounds in the Crusaders’ win over IU South Bend.
- 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 scored six points and grabbed five rebounds versus Drake, and pulled down seven boards the next day against Murray State.
- Adekoya came off the bench for the first time this season against UAPB, registering seven points and seven rebounds.
- Adekoya tallied eight points and grabbed six rebounds in each of Valpo’s first two wins of the season.
- 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 last year.
- 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 made both his field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, en route to seven points in five minutes in the win over Murray State.
- Chadwick made his first career start as a Crusader in the win over IUSB, playing 19 minutes and grabbing four rebounds.
- 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 grabbed a pair of rebounds in the victory over Drake.
- Davidson hit a pair of second-half 3-pointers in the win over Maine.
- Davidson saw 11 minutes off the bench versus IUSB, scoring three points and tallying a pair of steals.
- 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 seven points in the win over Murray State and went 4-of-5 for eight points in the victory against Portland.
- Nickerson handed out a game-high four assists in the win over Maine.
- Nickerson paced Valpo with 12 points (4-5 FG, 3-3 FT) off the bench at Missouri.
- 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 tallied three points, four rebounds and three assists in the victory over IUSB.
- 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 led all players with nine rebounds in 20 minutes of action last time out in the win at EKU.
- Skara reached double figures for the fourth time this season in the win over Murray State, scoring ten points in 18 minutes.
- Skara scored ten second-half points off the bench in the win over Maine.
- Skara led all players with 17 points (6-9 FG) and also handed out six assists without committing a turnover in the win over IUSB.
- 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 - he appeared in four games, recording ten points and five rebounds in a win over South Korea.
- Walker was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Challenge in Music City after scoring in double figures all three games.
- Walker scored a game-high 19 points (7-14 FG) against Drake.
- Walker added 18 points (7-10 FG, 4-5 3PT) in the win over Murray State and scored 13 points in the clinching win over Portland.
- Walker made his first two Crusader starts at Central Michigan, scoring 11 points in just 21 minutes in the win over Maine.
- Walker scored 20 points in the season-opening win over ETSU, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
- 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 Illiois 4A state titles.
- Walker registered 15 points and four rebounds last time out in the win at EKU.
- Walker matched his season best with 16 points versus Maine, hitting 6-of-10 from the field and grabbing four rebounds.
- Walker registered four steals in the win against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
- 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.