#rv/rv Valparaiso (17-4, 7-1 Horizon)
Game #22 - Thursday, January 28 - 7 p.m.
Cleveland State (7-14, 2-6 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team returns home to take on Cleveland State Thursday evening, kicking off a stretch in which the Crusaders will play six of their next eight games at the ARC. Valpo enters this weekend on a 22-game homecourt winning streak, the eighth-longest such streak in the nation.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders bounced back from a Friday night loss with a dominating performance on the defensive end, limiting Northern Kentucky to just 46 points in a 71-46 victory Sunday afternoon in Highland Heights, Ky. Valpo held the Norse to 30% shooting from the floor in the victory. Keith Carter led the Crusaders, hitting four 3-pointers in a 16-point performance.
Following the Crusaders: Audio – WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) - Todd Ickow (PxP), David Huseman (Color), Tommy Mantice (Sidelines)
Video - ESPN3.com.
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Bryce Drew: Bryce Drew (111-46) 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: Cleveland State holds a 30-16 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo, but the two programs have split 18 meetings since the Crusaders joined the Horizon League for the 2007-08 season. Valpo has won seven of the last nine matchups between the two teams, including a three-game sweep of the Vikings last year - the Crusaders defeated CSU 58-56 in Valpo in the regular season, 56-53 in Cleveland to clinch the Horizon League regular season title, and 60-55 in Valpo in the semifinals of the Horizon League Championship.
...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 Northern Kentucky
- Valpo bounced back from Friday night’s loss, improving to 9-0 over the last two seasons in the game immediately following a loss.
- Keith Carter - who did not play the last 11 minutes at WSU due to injury - returned and scored a team-high 16 points, matching a season high.
- Carter was one of four Crusaders in double figures (Hammink 14, Peters 12, T. Walker 10) - the 11th time this year Valpo has had at least four players score 10 or more points.
- The Crusaders overcame a seven-point first-half deficit, its largest deficit overcome in a victory this year.
- Valpo won by double figures for the seventh time in eight Horizon League games, including three wins by at least 20 points.
- Valpo held NKU to just 30% shooting from the field, including a 4-of-15 mark from 3-point range.
- Vashil Fernandez led all players with 11 rebounds, his fifth double-figure efforts on the boards in Horizon League play, as the Crusaders out-rebounded NKU, 42-28.
- The Crusaders remain at home Saturday evening to take on Youngstown State, their second matchup with the Penguins in the last two weeks.
- The Crusaders do not have another overnight road trip until mid-February, as four of the next five games are at home, with the lone road game at UIC.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 15 regular season home games scheduled for the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2015-16 and is already 9-0 at home this year.
- The Crusaders have won 22 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 259-57 (.820) winning percentage on their home court.
There’s No Place Like Home
- Every win at the ARC adds further to the Crusaders’ record home-court winning streak.
- Valpo enters Thursday’s game against Cleveland State with 22 consecutive home wins, breaking the previous record of 20 earlier this month.
- The Crusaders have not lost at home since falling to New Mexico on Dec. 6, 2014 - Valpo went 15-0 at the ARC in the 2015 calendar year.
- The previous 20-game home win streak at the ARC started Nov. 24, 2001 with a win over Milwaukee and came to a close Feb. 1, 2003 with an overtime loss to UMKC.
- Valpo’s 22-game home winning streak currently ranks eighth nationally.
- Cleveland State enters Thursday’s game at 7-14 overall this season and owns a 2-6 mark in Horizon League play.
- The Vikings had won back-to-back games before suffering a 70-55 home loss to Youngstown State last time out on Saturday.
- Rob Edwards leads CSU with 12.5 points per game and hits at a 42.9% clip from the 3-point line.
- Andre Yates (10.5 ppg) and Demonte Flannigan (10.0 ppg) both average in double figures as well.
Bouncing Back After a Loss
- In Bryce Drew’s fifth season as head coach, the Crusaders have proven strong at bouncing back with a victory following a defeat.
- Following Sunday’s win, Valpo owns a 34-8 record in games following a loss under Bryce Drew, including a 9-0 mark in the last two seasons - the Crusaders own an average margin of victory of 18.6 points in such games in the last two years.
- The Crusaders have not suffered back-to-back losses since closing the 2013-14 season with a loss in the HL tournament semifinals and a defeat in the first round of the CIT.
No Doubt In League Play
- Outside of Friday’s loss, the Crusaders have had little drama in the stretch run of Horizon League games, as each of their first seven league wins have come by at least 12 points.
- Valpo started the HL campaign with six straight wins, all by at least 12 points.
- 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.
- The Crusaders already own four league road wins by 17 or more points after winning just five such games total over the last four years combined.
Glance at the Rankings
- For the third straight week, Valpo received votes this week in both the AP (9) and the coaches (6) top-25 polls.
- The Crusaders are in their sixth week this year receiving votes in the AP poll, and picked up 30 points last week - their highest total of points ever in the AP poll.
- The Crusaders earned 16 points in the coaches poll last week as well, their highest regular-season tally in poll history (Valpo finished ranked #23 in the postseason poll in 1998).
- As of Tuesday’s results, Valpo ranked 31st in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo enters this week ranked second in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 and fourth in the Mid-Major Madness Power 15.
- 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 Tuesday’s results, Valpo ranks #24 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 Tuesday’s results, Valpo ranked second in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency, behind only West Virginia.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (60.0 ppg) ranks fifth nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (37.1%) is good for fourth in the nation.
- Valpo has held 10 of its 19 Division I opponents to their worst or second-worst offensive efficiency of the season.
- Valpo has given up 47 or fewer points five times already this year - the first time the program has done that in one season since the 1946-47 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 12th nationally with a +9.8 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 eight Horizon League games, including most recently +14 at Northern Kentucky - their sixth double-figure advantage in eight league games.
- In league play to date, Valpo owns an average edge on the boards of +16.6, while Vashil Fernandez (10.4 rpg) and Alec Peters (9.3 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 92-54 (.630) 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 56-18 (.757) within Horizon League play.