#rv/rv Valparaiso (25-4, 12-2 Horizon)
Game #30 - Wednesday, February 25 - 6 p.m. CT
at Detroit (13-17, 6-9 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (8,295) - Detroit, Mich.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Having already secured at least a share of the Horizon League regular season title, the Valparaiso men’s basketball team heads off for a Wednesday night matchup against Detroit looking to clinch the outright championship and hosting duties for the 2015 Horizon League Championship.
Last Time Out: The Valparaiso men’s basketball team moved one step closer towards a Horizon League regular season title on Saturday evening in front of a packed house on Senior Night at the ARC, out-dueling Wright State in a hard-fought contest, 55-48. With the win, the Crusaders are now 25-4 overall and own a 12-2 mark in league play - two games up on second place in the loss column. Alec Peters led the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Following the Crusaders: Audio - Valpo Sports Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso; WEFM, 95.9 FM, Michigan City; WJOB, 1230 AM, Hammond) - Todd Ickow (PxP) and Aaron Leavitt (Color)
Video - ESPN3.com
Links for live coverage will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (91-40) 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 hold a 14-10 advantage in the all-time series over the Titans, including a 12-6 mark since joining the Horizon League prior to the 2007-08 campaign. Valpo is 7-5 all-time at Calihan Hall, including wins in each of the last four matchups in Detroit. Three weeks ago, the Crusaders downed the Titans by a 78-70 final at the ARC, led by 21 points from Darien Walker and 19 points from Tevonn Walker.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- @ValpoBasketball was 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 Wright State
- Valpo trailed at the half for a second straight game after leading at the break in 11 consecutive contests.
- Each of Valpo’s last six wins have come by single digits.
- Alec Peters registered his third double-double in the last five games, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
- Trailing by three points with 16:54 to play, Valpo switched to zone defense and held WSU scoreless on its next nine possessions.
- The Crusaders went on a 14-0 lead over that stretch to take the lead for good.
- Valpo limited WSU to 1-of-14 3-point shooting - the second time this season in league play the Crusaders held their opponent to one triple.
- @ValpoBasketball closes out the regular season Friday night on ESPNU at Cleveland State, a 9 p.m. CT tip.
...on the road
- @ValpoBasketball is 7-3 in true road games so far this year and 12-3 overall away from home.
- Valpo has flipped its luck away from home this year, after going just 5-9 on the road last season.
- Under Bryce Drew, Valpo owns a 21-10 record on the road in #HLMBB play.
- Detroit enters Wednesday’s game at 13-17 overall and 6-9 in #HLMBB play following an 83-70 win at YSU last time out.
- The Titans own an 8-6 record at Calihan Hall this season.
- Senior Juwan Howard Jr. leads the Titans and ranks among the league leaders, averaging 18.2 points per game.
- Freshman Paris Bass is among the candidates for league freshman of the year, averaging 12.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest.
- @ValpoBasketball enters the final week of the regular season having already clinched a share of the league title, following CSU’s loss at Milwaukee Saturday.
- The Crusaders have now won three regular season titles in Bryce Drew’s four years at the helm.
- With one win this week, the Crusaders would clinch the outright title and secure hosting rights for the 2015 Horizon League Championship.
- Valpo at least matched its preseason projection for the fifth straight season.
Hitting 25 Wins
- @ValpoBasketball reached 25 wins on the year with the win at over Wright State on Saturday.
- The Crusaders were the sixth team nationally to reach the 25-win mark and were one of eight with 25+ wins as of the end of play Monday.
- The Crusaders earned their 20th win at UIC on Jan. 31 - they had previously never reached their 20th win before Feb. 12 (2012-13).
- Valpo has now won at least 20 games 14 times in the last 22 years, including three times in four seasons under Bryce Drew.
- This year’s team is one of just three in program history that has won at least 25 games.
- Valpo finished 25-8 in the 2001-02 season and set a school record with a 26-8 mark in 2012-13.
- The “World’s Tallest Team” in 1944-45 ended the year 23-3, while the 1930-31 squad finished at 16-2.
- The Crusaders are currently on a seven-game winning streak for the second time this year, their longest under Bryce Drew.
- Valpo hasn’t enjoyed a longer winning streak since an eight-game stretch early in the 2007-08 season.
- For the fourth straight week, @ValpoBasketball is receiving votes in both national top-25 polls (Associated Press/Coaches).
- The Crusaders are receiving 10 points in the AP poll and 16 points in the coaches poll, a season high in both rankings.
- Valpo sits at fifth in the Mid-Major Top-25 Poll and has been within the top-10 almost the entire year, reaching as high as fourth.
Hitting the Glass
- Valpo has out-rebounded opponents by double figures 13 times on the year, including a +12 edge last time out in the win over WSU.
- The Crusaders outrebounded Wright State by 21 earlier this year - best vs. a D-I opponent since a +22 advantage on the glass last year vs. Saint Louis.
- Valpo has only been outrebounded on two occasions this year - losses to New Mexico and Missouri.
- The Crusaders’ league-leading rebounding margin sits at +8.4, good for 10th in the nation.
- Valpo leads the league in rebounding margin by more than five boards, and also paces the circuit in both offensive and defensive rebounding pct.
- The Crusaders have held their last three opponents to under 60 points, including surrendering just 49 points to WSU last time out.
- Earlier this year, Valpo held eight straight opponents to 65 or fewer points, including 3 straight to 56 points, the first time it has won 3 straight games and given up 56 or fewer points in all three since Dec. 7-17, 1983.
- Valpo ranks 29th nationally in scoring defense and 12th in field goal percentage defense.
- Valpo boasts a defensive efficiency of 93.4, 32nd-best nationally - the Crusaders haven’t ranked in the top-100 since 2006-07.
- Crusader opponents are shooting just 42.2% from 2-point range (17th nationally) and are pulling down just 26.3% of available offensive boards (20th nationally).
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.
- 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 27 years. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- The Drew family has combined to lead @ValpoBasketball to 482 victories and 12 postseason appearances. #DrewFamilyDynasty
- Overall, the trio of Drews owns 977 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.