#rv/rv Valparaiso (21-4, 11-1 Horizon)
Game #26 - Saturday, February 13 - 7 p.m.
Wright State (15-11, 9-4 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team enters Saturday night with a 2 1/2 game lead in the Horizon League standings and will take on one of the teams tied for second place, as the Crusaders play host to Wright State at the ARC. Valpo has won 25 straight home games, tied for the sixth-longest streak in the nation.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders played rude hosts to Northern Kentucky Thursday night in the Norse’s first-ever visit to the ARC, running out to an 18-point halftime lead and cruising to a 64-52 victory. Keith Carter matched his season high with 16 points, while Shane Hammink and Darien Walker added 12 points apiece in the winning effort.
Following the Crusaders: Video – ESPN3 - Todd Ickow (PxP), David Huseman (Color) and Tommy Mantice (Sidelines)
Radio - 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 (115-46) 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: Wright State holds a narrow 14-13 edge over Valpo in the all-time series, but it’s the Crusaders who own an 11-9 advantage since joining the Horizon League. The Raiders handed Valpo its lone loss to date in the Horizon League slate earlier this year, however, downing the Crusaders 73-62 on Jan. 22 in Dayton. WSU scored 51 points in the second half of that contest, as the Crusaders fell despite getting 17 points on five 3-pointers from Darien Walker and a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double from Alec Peters.
...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
- The Crusaders led by 18 points at the half en route to their 11th double-figure victory in as many league wins - Valpo has led by double digits at the half in eight of those games.
- Keith Carter matched his season high with 16 points and tied a career high with four 3-pointers made.
- Shane Hammink went 5-of-6 from the field for 12 points and also posted a season-best five assists.
- Jubril Adekoya tied a season high with eight rebounds, set a season best with five assists and matched his career high of four steals.
- The Crusaders won despite shooting just 34.5% from the field in the second half and scoring just 26 points in the final 20 minutes.
- Valpo connected on 11 3-pointers Thursday night - the seventh time this season the Crusaders have made at least 10 shots from downtown.
- The Crusaders limited Jalen Billups, who entered the game 10th nationally with a 63.3% field goal percentage, to just 1-of-8 shooting from the floor.
- The Crusaders travel to Ohio for the third time within league play, taking on Cleveland State at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
- Valpo then returns home for its final home weekend of the season, hosting Oakland on Friday, Feb. 19 and Detroit on Sunday, Feb. 21.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 15 regular season home games scheduled for the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2015-16 and is already 12-0 at home this year.
- The Crusaders have won 25 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 262-57 (.821) 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 Wright State with 25 consecutive home wins, breaking the previous record of 20 last 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 25-game home winning streak is currently tied for sixth nationally.
- Wright State enters Saturday’s game at 15-11 overall this season and is tied for second in the Horizon League standings at 9-4.
- The Raiders are coming off a 64-59 loss at UIC on Thursday evening, a defeat which dropped WSU to 2-9 in true road games this season.
- Senior JT Yoho averages a team-high 13.3 points per game and hits at a 42.2% clip from 3-point range.
- Mark Alstork adds 12.6 points per game as five different Raider players average 8.5 points per game or better.
- This season marks the fourth time in Crusader history that Valpo has won 21 times in 25 games or fewer.
- Last year’s team also was 21-4 through 25 games en route to a school-record 28 victories.
- Prior to that, you had to go back to the FDR administration, as the “World’s Tallest Team” in 1944-45 ended the season 21-3 - reaching 21 wins in just 24 games.
- 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.
- This year’s team reached 20 victories with the win over UIC - the 19th team in Valpo men’s basketball history to win at least 20 games and the fourth under Bryce Drew.
- Last year’s team reached 20 wins on Jan. 31, the earliest in program history, while this year’s squad reached the mark on Feb. 6 - no other Valpo team has reached the 20-win mark before Feb. 12.
Winning the Second Time Around
- While Bryce Drew hasn’t seen many league losses at the helm of the Crusaders, he has had his team prepared the second time around when facing a team that beat Valpo in the first matchup.
- The Crusaders suffered defeat against Wright State in the first half of league play this year, the 10th time Valpo has lost to a Horizon League team in the first matchup of the year under Drew.
- In the previous nine instances over the last four years, Valpo has gone 7-2 in the second meeting and has improved by an average of 13.4 ppg in the nine games.
- Only Cleveland State and Wright State in the 2013-14 campaign have swept the Crusaders since Bryce Drew assumed the coaching reins.
No Doubt In League Play
- Outside of the loss at WSU, the Crusaders have had little drama in the stretch run of Horizon League games, as each of their first 11 league wins have come by at least 12 points - including five 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.
- Valpo’s previous high in HL play for double-figure victories was six, accomplished by the 2010-11 and 2012-13 Crusader squads.
- The Crusaders already own five 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 fifth straight week, Valpo received votes this week in both the AP (9) and the coaches (14) top-25 polls.
- The Crusaders are in their seventh week this year receiving votes in the AP poll, and picked up 30 points Jan. 18 - their highest total of points ever in the AP poll.
- The Crusaders earned 16 points in the coaches poll Jan. 18 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 46th in the nation in RPI.
- Valpo enters this week ranked atop in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 and second 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 was atop the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (59.4 ppg) ranks second nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (37.0%) is good for third in the nation.
- Valpo has held 11 Division I opponents to one of their three worst offensive efficiencies 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, as Valpo currently ranks sixth nationally with a +10.5 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 +7 on the boards in all 12 Horizon League games and have held a double-figure advantage in eight of the 12 games.
- In league play to date, Valpo owns an average edge on the boards of +15.8, while Vashil Fernandez (9.9 rpg) and Alec Peters (8.7 rpg) rank 1-3 in the league in rebounding in league-only action.
- With 545 rebounds through 12 Horizon League games, 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 96-54 (.640) 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 60-18 (.769) 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.
- Beyond his school-record block total (now sitting at 239 total blocks), Fernandez also ranks 14th in Crusader history with 605 career rebounds.
- Meanwhile, Peters sits in 13th place in Valpo history in scoring with 1,421 career points - nine shy of 12th place and 49 away from cracking the top-10.
- Peters also ranks fourth in 3-point % (43.4%) and in 3-pointers made (199), eighth in free throw % (82.2%) and 15th in rebounding (587).
- In addition, senior Keith Carter moved into Valpo’s all-time top-20 in assists at UIC as well and now ranks 20th in Crusader history with 235 career assists.