Valparaiso (9-2, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #12 - Saturday, December 19 - 1:30 p.m.
Missouri State (4-6, 0-0 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team looks to extend its winning streak to four straight games Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host Missouri State at the ARC. With a win, the Drew family would reach 1,000 combined collegiate head coaching victories.
Last Time Out: Valparaiso University men’s basketball junior Alec Peters tied a program record for accuracy from behind the 3-point line, leading the Crusaders’ long-range barrage as they earned a road win at Chicago State last Friday evening, 71-53. Peters went 6-for-6 from deep, the fourth time in program history a Crusader has been perfect on six 3-point attempts, while the Crusaders went 14-of-27 as a team from downtown.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3.com - Todd Ickow (PxP), David Huseman (Color) and Brandon Vickrey (Sideline)
Audio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso)
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (103-44) is in his fifth season at the helm of the Crusader men’s basketball program in 2015-16. In his first four years, Drew has led Valpo to three Horizon League regular season titles, two Horizon League tournament championships and four postseason berths, including a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. The 2012 and 2015 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: For the third straight game, the Crusaders will be facing a former conference foe, as Valpo and Missouri State were both founding members of the Association of Mid-Continent Universities in 1982 and shared a league until the Bears left in 1990. Missouri State holds a 14-5 advantage in the all-time series, but Valpo won each of the two most recent matchups, including a 62-54 win in Springfield on Dec. 15, 2012. Lavonte Dority made his Valpo debut in that game and scored 20 points off the bench.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- Valpo has been picked to win the Horizon League in preseason polling, earning 36 of the 43 first-place votes.
- The Crusaders have not finished worse than their preseason projection in the last five years.
- Junior Alec Peters was named to the preseason First Team All-League for a second straight season.
- Seniors Vashil Fernandez and Darien Walker and sophomore Tevonn Walker all earned spots on the preseason Second Team.
...looking back at last year
- Valpo won a program-record 28 games en route to the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles.
- The Crusaders advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time since 1996 and the 14th time overall.
- Valpo has won two of the last three Horizon League Championships and three of the last four HL regular season titles.
- The Crusaders are one of just four programs in league history to capture at least three regular season titles in a four-year span.
- Bryce Drew was named Horizon League Coach of the Year for the second time, as well as NABC District Coach of the Year.
- Alec Peters was a First Team All-League selection and an NABC First Team All-District choice.
- Vashil Fernandez was named HL Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the All-Defensive Team.
- Jubril Adekoya claimed Sixth Man of the Year honors, while Tevonn Walker earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.
...notes from Chicago State
- The Crusaders never trailed in the win, leading start-to-finish for the fourth time this season.
- Valpo finished the game 14-of-27 from the 3-point line - its most 3-pointers in a single game since Dec. 21, 2013.
- Led by Peters’ six triples, six different Crusaders hit at least one 3-pointer.
- Valpo connected on 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions in the first half to extend an eight-point lead to 16 points.
- Keith Carter narrowly missed a points/assists double-double, scoring nine points and setting a new career high with nine assists.
- Valpo returns to the court after Christmas for the back end of the home-and-home with Belmont on Dec. 28.
- The Crusaders kick off the 2016 calendar year with the Horizon League opener at home against UIC Saturday afternoon, Jan. 2.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 15 regular season home games scheduled for the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2015-16 and is already 5-0 at home this year.
- The Crusaders have won 18 consecutive home games dating back to December of 2014.
- The Crusaders posted a 15-1 record at the ARC last season, the second-most home wins in a single season since the building opened.
- Valpo’s .938 home winning percentage last year was also the second-best since the ARC opened.
- Over the last 21 years, the Crusaders own a 255-57 (.817) winning percentage on their home court.
- Missouri State enters Saturday’s game at 4-6 on the year, most recently winning at home over Oral Roberts on Wednesday.
- The Bears also own a road win at Oklahoma State among their four victories.
- Missouri State, which returned all five starters from a season ago, was picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley.
- Camyn Boone leads the Bears, averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
- Obediah Church ranks among the nation’s most efficient shooters, hitting 70% of his field goal attempts.
Perfection From Downtown
- Alec Peters enjoyed a shooter’s night last time out at Chicago State, knocking down all six of his 3-point attempts in the Valpo win.
- Peters became the fourth player in Crusader history to go 6-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line in a single game.
- Matt Kenney (at Green Bay, Mar. 2, 2013) was the last Crusader to do so, while Jared Nuness (1997) and Ryan Broekhoff (2012) have also accomplished the feat.
- Peters’ six triples were just one shy of his career high of seven, which he has hit twice.
- The Crusaders are still enjoying one of their best starts since the move to Division I.
- Valpo owns a 9-2 record through 11 games, just the fourth time since the move to D-I the Crusaders have at least nine wins in their first 11.
- Valpo was 9-2 through 11 games last season as well, started 10-1 through 11 games in the 2007-08 season and was also 9-2 in 1996-97.
Defense and Rebounding
- In a couple fundamental parts of the game, the Crusaders have had success so far during the 2015-16 campaign.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (57.4 ppg) ranks seventh nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (36.9%) is good for 13th in the nation.
- Meanwhile, on the glass, the Crusaders out-rebound their opponents by 5.0 boards per game, best in the Horizon League.
- Valpo has surrendered more than 64 points just twice this year and been out-rebounded just twice, in their losses at Oregon and Ball State.
- The Crusaders have limited Iona, Rhode Island, Oregon State and Belmont all under 60 points this season - none of the four teams have been held to fewer than 62 points in any other game.
1,000 Wins for the Drews
- The Drew family dynasty is poised to hit a milestone as soon as Saturday, as Homer, Scott and Bryce Drew enter the weekend having combined for 999 collegiate head coaching victories.
- Homer Drew won 640 career games, while Scott Drew owns 256 career wins and Bryce Drew enters Saturday with 103 wins.
- Valpo plays Saturday afternoon and Baylor Saturday night, giving the Drews two chances to pick up their 1,000th combined victory.
- The Drew family ranks third in collegiate history (most of their careers at the D-I level) for combined wins, ranking behind only the Ibas and the Suttons.
Glance at the Rankings
- The Crusaders picked up votes in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll and in each of the season’s first two weeks.
- As of games of Dec. 17, Valpo ranked 16th in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo is currently #3 in College Insider’s Mid-Major Top 25 and sits at #2 in the Mid-Major Madness Power 15.
Look at KenPom
- Following the win over Oregon State, the Crusaders moved up to #20 in the KenPom ratings - their high-water mark this season.
- As of Thursday afternoon, Valpo currently sits 31st in the ratings.
- Valpo’s adjusted defensive efficiency is currently ranked sixth in the nation, trailing Purdue, Florida, Oklahoma, Villanova and Virginia.
- Valpo closed last season at #61 in the KenPom ratings - its highest year-end ranking was back in 2001-02 (#51).
- The game against Oregon State was already the Crusaders’ third this year against a top-50 team in the KenPom ratings - last season’s team didn’t play a top-50 team until the NCAA Tournament.
- The game against Belmont was the Crusaders’ fifth against a top-100 team - last year’s team played five top-100 games total in the regular season.
What’s Back This Season
- If you said “everything”, you’d be close – the Crusaders return nearly all their players from last year’s record-setting squad.
- 10 of last year’s 11 letterwinners are back for Valpo in 2015-16, comprising 98.8% of its scoring and rebounding and 98.3% of its minutes played from last year’s squad.
- Valpo is the only D-I team in at least the last three years to return all five starters from a team which won at least 28 games.
- Forward David Chadwick, who averaged 2.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 12 appearances last year, is the only loss from last season.
- With so much returning from last year, the Crusaders have still found room for some new faces on this year’s squad.
- Lexus Williams is back for the Crusaders after missing the entirety of last season with a knee injury.
- LSU transfer Shane Hammink and UMKC transfer Chandler Levingston Simon are both eligible this season after sitting out last year.
- Derrik Smits is the lone freshman on this year’s team – the 7’1” center was an Indiana All-Star at Zionsville H.S.
High Praise Entering the Year
- With the glut of returnees from last year’s team, the Crusaders were on the receiving end of high praise from a myriad of national outlets entering the season.
- ESPN.com, SI.com, NBCSports.com, NCAA.com and CBSSports.com all listed Valpo at or near the top of their respective top mid-major teams during the preseason.
- The Crusaders were #35 in Ken Pomeroy’s preseason ratings and were ranked #41 entering the year by CBSSports.com.
- Valpo picked up five points in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.
- Individually, head coach Bryce Drew was tabbed one of 10 Coaches on the Rise by CBSSports.com’s Jon Rothstein.
- Vashil Fernandez was listed among the nation’s top-seven rim protectors by NCAA.com.
- Alec Peters is one of 20 players on the watch list for the Karl Malone Award, presented to the nation’s top power forward, and is also on the watch list for the Lou Henson Award.
- Valpo went on an international tour this past August to Canada, spending time in Montreal and Ottawa.
- It marks the second time in program history that the Crusaders have taken advantage of the chance to take an international trip.
- Valpo went 4-1 on the trip, with wins over the Montreal All-Stars, Brookwood Elite, McGill and Ottawa, and a loss to five-time defending national champion Carleton.
- Shane Hammink scored in double figures in all five games of the trip to lead the Crusaders.
The International Flavor
- This year’s squad continues the international pipeline that Valpo 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).
- Over the past two decades, Valpo has welcomed 31 international players from 18 different countries.
- Three members of this year’s Crusader roster boast fathers who played at the highest level of pro basketball - in the NBA.
- Most notably, Derrik Smits’ father, Rik, played 12 seasons with the Indiana Pacers and was an All-Star.
- Chandler Levingston Simon’s father, Cliff Levingston, was an 11-year NBA vet who won two titles with the Chicago Bulls.
- Shane Hammink’s father, Geert, was a 1993 first-round draft pick who played parts of three seasons in the NBA.