#rv/rv Valparaiso (18-4, 8-1 Horizon)
Game #23 - Saturday, January 30 - 7 p.m.
Youngstown State (9-13, 4-5 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Among the winningest teams in the nation, the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team looks to add another victory to that side of the ledger on Saturday night as the Crusaders host Youngstown State. The game against the Penguins kicks off the second half of Horizon League action.
Last Time Out: The recipe was the same as it’s been all season long for Valpo: defense and rebounding, joined Thursday night by a splash of outside shooting as the Crusaders took care of business at the ARC, defeating Cleveland State by a 77-52 final. The Crusaders out-rebounded CSU by 19 boards, 41-22, and held the Vikings to 40.9% shooting. Alec Peters paced Valpo with 18 points and six rebounds.
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 (112-46) 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: 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 31-9, including a dominating 20-1 edge at the ARC. Since joining the Horizon League, the Crusaders are 16-2 against the Penguins and have won their last six meetings. Just early last week, Valpo won the first meeting of the year in Youngstown, 96-65, as Alec Peters and Darien Walker combined for seven first-half 3-pointers to stake the Crusaders to a 24-point halftime lead.
...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 Cleveland State
- Valpo went 11-of-24 from 3-point range in the win - seven different Crusaders hit 3-pointers as Valpo connected on its third-highest number of triples this year.
- No Crusader played more than 29 minutes, as all 13 active players saw action and 12 different players scored.
- Alec Peters paced Valpo with 18 points and added six rebounds, while David Skara and Shane Hammink chipped in 10 points apiece.
- Keith Carter finished with seven points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Vashil Fernandez posted eight points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
- The Crusaders out-rebounded Cleveland State, 41-22, as no Vikings player had more than three rebounds.
- Valpo tallied a season-high 19 assists on its 29 made baskets.
- The Crusaders head out on the road next Saturday for their lone road game in a five-game stretch, playing at UIC next Saturday afternoon.
- Valpo then returns home the next weekend to host Northern Kentucky (Feb. 11) and Wright State (Feb. 13).
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 15 regular season home games scheduled for the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2015-16 and is already 10-0 at home this year.
- The Crusaders have won 23 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 260-57 (.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 Saturday’s game against Cleveland State with 23 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 23-game home winning streak currently ranks seventh nationally.
- Youngstown State enters Saturday’s game at 9-13 overall this year, including a 4-5 mark in Horizon League play.
- YSU has won consecutive road games over Cleveland State (70-55) and UIC (82-78) since Valpo downed the Penguins on Jan. 18.
- Cameron Morse continues to rank among the league’s leading scorers, averaging 18.9 ppg.
- Matt Donlan adds 13.3 ppg on 49.2% shooting from 3-point range as well as the Penguins average 74.8 ppg as a team.
No Doubt In League Play
- Outside of last Friday’s loss, the Crusaders have had little drama in the stretch run of Horizon League games, as each of their first eight league wins have come by at least 12 points - including four by at least 25 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 Thursday’s results, Valpo ranked 29th 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 Thursday’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 Thursday’s results, Valpo ranked second in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency, behind only West Virginia.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (59.6 ppg) ranks third nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (37.2%) is good for fourth in the nation.
- Valpo has held 10 of its 20 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 ninth nationally with a +10.2 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 +19 in the win over Cleveland State - their seventh double-figure advantage in nine league games.
- In league play to date, Valpo owns an average edge on the boards of +17.1, while Vashil Fernandez (10.1 rpg) and Alec Peters (9.0 rpg) rank 1-2 in the league in rebounding in league-only action.
- With 413 rebounds halfway through league-only play, Valpo is on pace to shatter the previous record for league-only rebounds of 689 - the Crusaders are also on track to shatter the record for league-only rebounding margin of +11.1.
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 93-54 (.633) 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 57-18 (.760) within Horizon League play.
Look at the Record Book
- Both senior Vashil Fernandez and junior Alec Peters are moving up the Crusader career record books in a number of categories.
- Most notably, Fernandez owns 225 career blocked shots - just three from tying and four from passing Raitis Grafs’ Valpo career record of 228.
- Fernandez also ranks 15th in Crusader history with 577 career rebounds.
- Meanwhile, Peters moved into 14th place in Valpo history in scoring against CSU with 1,379 career points - 16 shy of 13th place and 91 away from cracking the top-10.
- Peters also ranks second in 3-point % (43.7%), fourth in 3-pointers made (195), eighth in free throw % (82%) and 17th in rebounding (564).