#rv/rv Valparaiso (16-3, 6-0 Horizon)
Game #20 - Friday, January 22 - 6 p.m. CT
at Wright State (11-8, 5-1 Horizon)
Nutter Center (10,449) - Dayton, Ohio
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team continues its current three-game road swing with another matchup against a team near the top of the league standings, as the Crusaders head to Wright State for a Friday night showdown. Valpo enters the game on a six-game winning streak and is receiving numerous votes in both top-25 polls.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders used seven combined first-half 3-pointers from junior Alec Peters and senior Darien Walker to jump out to a quick lead Monday in Youngstown, Ohio, and then used a tremendous advantage on the boards to control the rest of the game as Valpo defeated Youngstown State, 96-65. Peters and Walker combined to go 8-of-9 from deep for the game and scored 18 points apiece, while the Crusaders ended the night with a 51-20 edge on the glass.
Following the Crusaders: Audio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow (PxP) and Aaron Leavitt (Color)
Video - ESPN3.com
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (110-45) 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: Wright State and Valpo are even at 13-13 in the all-time series, but it’s the Crusaders who own an 11-8 advantage since joining the Horizon League. Last season, Valpo earned a pair of victories over the Raiders, downing WSU 66-56 in Dayton and 55-48 at the ARC. Alec Peters paced the Crusaders with 14 ppg and 8.5 rpg, while Valpo out-rebounded WSU 83-50 combined over the two games.
...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 Youngstown State
- The 31-point win was the largest in program history at the Beeghly Center.
- The 96 points scored was the most by a Valpo team in a Horizon League game, while the 31-point margin of victory matched the Crusaders’ best in a Horizon League game.
- Alec Peters and Darien Walker combined for seven first-half 3-pointers as Valpo totaled 52 first-half points.
- Peters and Walker tied for team-high honors with 18 points, Peters doing so despite playing just 14 minutes.
- Vashil Fernandez tallied his second straight double-double, posting 10 points and 12 rebounds.
- Valpo out-rebounded YSU 51-20 and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds versus the Penguins’ 16 defensive boards.
- The +31 edge on the glass was the largest by the Crusaders against a D-I team in at least two decades, and was the largest in any game since Valpo was +38 against Purdue North Central on Nov. 18, 2010.
- Valpo will wrap up the stretch of three straight road games with a Sunday afternoon game at Horizon League newcomer Northern Kentucky.
- The Crusaders then return home next weekend, taking on Cleveland State on Thursday and Youngstown State on Saturday.
...on the road
- The game against WSU is the fourth road test for the Crusaders within Horizon League play, as Valpo swept the Oakland/Detroit road trip and also won at YSU.
- Valpo ended the non-league slate 4-3 in true road games.
- The Crusaders’ seven true road wins and 10 true road games are 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.
- Wright State enters Friday night’s game in second place in the league standings, holding an 11-8 overall record and a 5-1 mark in league play.
- The Raiders most recently edged Detroit on Monday night, 77-76, giving them four straight wins and eight victories in their last nine games.
- Mark Alstork paces WSU, averaging 12.4 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game.
- The Raiders shoot 36.2% from the 3-point line as a team and surrender just 63.8 points per game.
Starting Horizon League Play Strong
- The Crusaders have had little drama in the stretch run of Horizon League games so far, winning all six 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 even 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 6-0 start to Horizon League play is the program’s best since the 2002-03 squad began Mid-Con action 6-0 under Scott Drew - the 1996-97 team began Mid-Con play 7-0 under Homer Drew.
- This season marks the fifth time in Crusader history - and only the second time in the last half-century - that Valpo has been 16-3 or better through 19 games.
- Last season’s squad also owned a 16-3 record through 19 games en route to a record-setting 28-win campaign.
- Prior to last year, the Crusaders last started 16-3 during the FDR administration, as the “World’s Tallest Team” in 1944-45 was 16-3 en route to a 21-3 final record.
- The Crusaders won their first 19 games in 1923-24 en route to a 24-4 record, while the 1930-31 squad finished at 16-2.
Glance at the Rankings
- For the second straight week, Valpo received votes in both the AP and the coaches top-25 polls.
- In their fifth week this year receiving votes in the AP poll, the Crusaders picked up 30 points this week - their highest total of points ever in the AP poll.
- Valpo’s 30 points placed it fourth in the others receiving votes section of the poll.
- The Crusaders earned 16 points in the coaches poll, their highest regular-season tally in poll history (Valpo finished ranked #23 in the postseason poll in 1998).
- As of Wednesday’s results, Valpo ranked 27th in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo enters this week atop both the Mid-Major Madness Power 15 and the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25.
- Following the win over Detroit and subsequent results, the Crusaders moved up to #18 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings - their high-water mark this season.
- As of Wednedsay’s results, Valpo ranks #21 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 Wednesday’s results, Valpo ranked third in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency, just slightly behind Louisville and West Virginia.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (60.0 ppg) ranks fourth nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (37.1%) is good for sixth in the nation.
- The Crusaders have limited Iona, Rhode Island, 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 17 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.
Crashing the Glass
- Combined with their stellar defense has been a tremendous effort on the glass this season for the Crusaders, as Valpo currently ranks 15th nationally with a +9.5 rebound margin.
- Valpo’s +31 advantage at Youngstown State was its best against a Division I opponent in at least two decades.
- The Crusaders have been at least +8 on the boards in all six Horizon League games, including a double-figure advantage four times.
- In league play to date, Valpo owns an average edge on the boards of +18, while Vashil Fernandez (10.7 rpg) and Alec Peters (9.8 rpg) rank 1-2 in the league in rebounding in league-only action.
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 91-53 (.632) 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 55-17 (.764) 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 1,013 combined wins, as Homer Drew won 640 career games, while Scott Drew owns 263 career wins and Bryce Drew enters Friday with 110 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 last Saturday, as the win over Green Bay marked the 500th combined victory for the Drew family at the helm of the Valpo program.