#rv/rv Valparaiso (15-3, 5-0 Horizon)
Game #19 - Monday, January 18 - 6:05 p.m. CT
at Youngstown State (7-12, 2-4 Horizon)
Beeghly Center (6,300) - Youngstown, Ohio
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Sitting atop the Horizon League standings, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team faces its third game in five days on Monday evening, as the Crusaders make the trek to Youngstown, Ohio to take on Youngstown State. Valpo enters Monday night’s game on a five-game winning streak, matching its longest streak of the season.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders continued their roll through the opening portion of Horizon League play, as both junior Alec Peters and senior Vashil Fernandez posted double-doubles in an 85-70 victory over Green Bay in front of a near-capacity crowd at the ARC Saturday. The win marked the 500th by a member of the Drew family as head coach of the Crusaders. Peters led the way for Valpo with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Fernandez finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3.com - Andy Masur (PxP) and Chris Sparks (Color)
Audio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow (PxP) and Aaron Leavitt (Color)
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (109-45) 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: A rivalry dating back to when both teams were in the Mid-Continent Conference, Valpo has owned a distinct advantage in the all-time series over YSU, leading it 30-9, including a 10-8 mark at Youngstown State. Since joining the Horizon League, the Crusaders are 15-2 against the Penguins and have won their last five meetings. Last season saw Valpo come away with 15-point victories in both games - 79-64 in Valparaiso and 77-62 in Youngstown.
...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 Green Bay
- Valpo extended its program-record home winning streak at the ARC to 22 straight games, tied for ninth-best in the nation.
- Both Alec Peters (21 points, 13 rebounds) and Vashil Fernandez (13 points, 11 rebounds) finished with double-doubles in the win.
- Darien Walker narrowly missed a double-double as well off the bench, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds.
- Fernandez blocked five shots on Saturday, his fourth effort of at least four rejections this year.
- The Crusaders won despite committing a season-worst 19 turnovers.
- Valpo finished with a 52-35 edge on the glass over the Phoenix and has out-rebounded its opponents by at least eight boards in all five Horizon League games.
- The Crusaders shot 15-of-23 from the floor in the second half in scoring 52 points, their highest-scoring half against a Division I opponent this season.
- Valpo’s three-game road swing continues Friday evening at Wright State.
- The Crusaders will wrap up the stretch of three straight road games with a Sunday afternoon game at Horizon League newcomer Northern Kentucky.
...on the road
- The game against YSU is the third road test for the Crusaders within Horizon League play, as Valpo swept the Oakland/Detroit road trip.
- Valpo ended the non-league slate 4-3 in true road games.
- The Crusaders’ six true road wins and nine true road games were more than any team in last week’s AP top-25 poll - four true road wins and five true road games were the highest by a top-25 team.
- Last season, Valpo went 8-4 in true road games, including a 5-3 mark in Horizon League road contests, and 13-5 overall in games away from home.
- Youngstown State enters Monday’s contest at 7-12 overall and 2-4 within Horizon League play.
- The Penguins dropped road decisions at Northern Kentucky (84-64) and at Wright State (81-45) this past weekend.
- Cameron Morse ranks among the league’s leading scorers, averaging 18.7 ppg, and scored 44 points earlier this year in YSU’s win over Green Bay.
- Matt Donlan adds 13.4 ppg on 47.8% shooting from the 3-point line.
Starting Horizon League Play Strong
- The Crusaders have had little drama in the stretch run of Horizon League games so far, winning all five league games by at least 12 points.
- Last season saw Valpo win six consecutive games by double figures in the non-league portion of the season.
- Going back to the 1940’s, this is the first time Valpo has won five league games in a row, all by double figures.
- It’s been over a decade since the Crusaders even won four straight conference contests by double figures, as you have to go back to wins over Centenary, Oakland, Oral Roberts and Western Illinois Dec. 2005-Jan. 2006.
- Valpo’s 5-0 start to Horizon League play is the program’s best since the 2002-03 squad began Mid-Con action 6-0 under Scott Drew.
- This season marks the sixth time in Crusader history - and only the second time in the last half-century - that Valpo has been 15-3 or better through 18 games.
- Last season’s squad also owned a 15-3 record through 18 games en route to a record-setting 28-win campaign.
- Prior to last year, the Crusaders last started 15-3 during the 1965-66 season under Hall of Fame coach Gene Bartow.
- The Crusaders also won at least 15 of their first 18 games in 1944-45 (15-3), 1930-31 (16-2) and 1923-24 (18-0).
Packing in the Games
- Monday’s game will mark the third in a five-day stretch for the Crusaders.
- This is only the second time since joining the Horizon League Valpo has played three league games in five days - it previously occurred Feb. 4, 6 and 8, 2010 - all three of those games were at home.
- The Crusaders have plenty of experience this year with many games in a short stretch, as Valpo started the season with five games in seven days and seven games in 12 days.
Peters Enjoys Career Night
- Junior Alec Peters put together one of the most impressive performances by anybody in college basketball this season in last Sunday’s win at Detroit.
- Peters went 12-of-20 from the floor, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range, and 11-of-11 from the foul line for a career-best 39 points.
- Peters’ 39 points is believed to be tied for seventh-most in a single game in Crusader men’s basketball history.
- Peters’ 11-of-11 performance from the free throw stripe matched the most makes without a miss by a Crusader since Jamie Sykes went 13-of-13 at Northeastern Illinois in January of 1998.
- Peters added a career-best 14 rebounds, making him one of just three players in the nation to go for 39/14 or better this season (Ben Simmons - LSU; Brice Johnson - North Carolina).
- Peters earned his third career Player of the Week honor from the Horizon League office, was named #HLMBB and national High-Major Player of the Week by College Sports Madness, and earned Lou Henson Award National Player of the Week honors from College Insider.
Glance at the Rankings
- Valpo moved back into the receiving votes section of both the AP and the coaches polls this week, earning six points in the AP poll and five points in the coaches poll.
- 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 mid-day Sunday, Valpo ranked 17th in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo enters this week atop the Mid-Major Madness Power 15 and ranked second in College Insider’s Mid-Major Top 25.
- Following the win over Detroit and subsequent results, the Crusaders moved up to #18 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings.
- As of mid-day Sunday, Valpo ranks #19 in the KenPom ratings.
- Valpo closed last season at #61 in the KenPom ratings - its highest year-end ranking was back in 2001-02 (#51).
Getting It Done With Defense
- One of the best defensive teams in the nation last season, the Crusaders have been even stronger defensively this season.
- As of mid-day Sunday, Valpo ranked third in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency, just slightly behind Louisville and West Virginia.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (59.7 ppg) ranks fourth nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (36.9%) is good for seventh in the nation.
- The Crusaders have limited Iona, Rhode Island, Oregon State, Belmont and Milwaukee all under 60 points this season - none of the four teams have been held to fewer than 62 points in any other game.
- Valpo has held nine of its 16 Division I opponents to their worst or second-worst offensive efficiency of the season.
- Valpo has given up 47 or fewer points four times already this year - the first time the program has done that in one season since the 1948-49 campaign.
- Through five Horizon League games, the Crusaders have held their opponents’ leading scorer to combined 29-of-89 shooting (32.6%) from the floor.
Continued Success Within the League
- Valpo has been strong within Horizon League play since joining the league prior to the 2007-08 season.
- The Crusaders own a league record of 90-53 (.629) over the last eight-plus years and have had just one sub-.500 season in league play.
- Valpo has captured three of the last four Horizon League regular season titles.
- In Bryce Drew’s fifth season at the helm, the Crusaders are 54-17 (.761) within Horizon League play.
1,000 Wins for the Drews
- The Drew family dynasty reached a milestone in the Missouri State victory Dec. 19, as Valpo’s win gave Homer, Scott and Bryce Drew a combined 1,000 collegiate head coaching victories.
- The family now owns 1,011 combined wins, as Homer Drew won 640 career games, while Scott Drew owns 262 career wins and Bryce Drew enters Monday with 109 wins.
- 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.
- The Drews hit another milestone as well on Saturday, as the win over Green Bay marked the 500th combined victory for the Drew family at the helm of the Valpo program.