#--/rv Valparaiso (21-5, 11-2 Horizon)
Game #27 - Tuesday, February 16 - 6 p.m. CT
at Cleveland State (8-18, 3-10 Horizon)
Quicken Loans Arena (20,562) - Cleveland, Ohio
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team looks to bounce back from just its second loss of the Horizon League slate on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders take on Cleveland State at Quicken Loans Arena. Valpo has not lost consecutive games in the last two seasons.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders rallied back from a nine-point halftime deficit and led by six points with inside of two minutes to play, but Wright State scored the final eight points of the game – capped by a tip-in from Biggie Minnis with one second remaining – to defeat Valpo 61-59 on Saturday evening at the ARC. Alec Peters paced the Crusaders with 14 points and six rebounds.
Following the Crusaders: Video – ESPN3
Radio - 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 (115-47) 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 30-17 advantage in the all-time series over Valpo, but the Crusaders have a slight 10-9 edge since they joined the Horizon League for the 2007-08 season. Valpo has won eight of the last 10 matchups between the two teams, including a 77-52 victory over the Vikings earlier this season at the ARC. Alec Peters scored a team-high 18 points in the win, as Valpo shot 50% from the field and out-rebounded CSU by a 41-22 margin.
...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 Wright State
- The Crusaders suffered their first home loss since December of 2014 in falling to the Raiders.
- Valpo trailed at halftime for the first time in Horizon League play this year.
- The Crusaders’ nine-point halftime deficit (33-24) was their largest since being down 10 at the break to New Mexico in their last previous home loss.
- Valpo out-rebounded Wright State 31-25 and pulled down 11 offensive rebounds to the Raiders’ four.
- The Crusaders out-scored WSU on second chance points, 17-2, but the Raiders’ two second chance points came on the game-deciding basket.
- Valpo scored just six points off of 14 Wright State turnovers, while the Raiders tallied 19 points off of 15 Crusader miscues..
- The Crusaders shot just 26.9% (7-of-26) from 3-point range, their worst percentage from deep since hitting 7-of-28 at Detroit earlier this year.
- Valpo then returns home for its final home weekend of the season this coming weekend, hosting Oakland on Friday, Feb. 19 and Detroit on Sunday, Feb. 21.
- The game against the Golden Grizzlies will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
...on the road
- The game at Cleveland State is the seventh road test for the Crusaders within Horizon League play, as Valpo now owns a 5-1 mark on the road in league action.
- Valpo ended the non-league slate 4-3 in true road games.
- The Crusaders have secured an above-.500 winning percentage in true road games this season, the third time in the last four years they’ve had a winning road record after not doing so in the previous 10 seasons.
- 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.
- Cleveland State enters Tuesday night’s game at 8-18 overall this season and own a 3-10 record in Horizon League play.
- The Vikings snapped a five-game losing streak last time out, earning a 64-59 win at Youngstown State.
- CSU is paced by Rob Edwards and Demonte Flannigan, both of whom average 11.8 ppg - Flannigan on 49.4% shooting from the field.
- The Vikings will be short their leading rebounder, Vinny Zollo, against the Crusaders due to suspension.
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.
- Valpo owns a 34-8 record in games following a loss under Bryce Drew, including an 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.
Rolling in the Wins
- This season marks the fourth time in Crusader history that Valpo won 21 times in 25 games or fewer.
- Last year’s team also was 21-4 through 25 games, and would go on to be 25-4 before suffering its fifth loss, 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.
No Doubt In League Play
- Outside of the losses to 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.
- In fact, the most recent loss to Wright State was the first game decided by single digits either way for the Crusaders in league play this year.
- 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 sixth straight week, Valpo received a vote in the coaches top-25 poll this week, while the Crusaders fell out of the AP poll for the first time in six weeks.
- The Crusaders have received votes in seven editions of the AP poll this season, 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 Sunday’s results, Valpo ranked 66th in the nation in RPI.
- 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 Sunday’s results, Valpo ranks #29 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 Sunday’s results, Valpo was second in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency, trailing only Louisville.
- Valpo’s scoring defense (59.5 ppg) ranks second nationally, while its field goal percentage defense (37.4%) is good for fourth 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 +10.3 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 +6 on the boards in all 13 Horizon League games and have held a double-figure advantage in eight of the 13 games.
- In league play to date, Valpo owns an average edge on the boards of +15.1, while Vashil Fernandez (9.5 rpg) and Alec Peters (8.5 rpg) rank 1-3 in the league in rebounding in league-only action.
- With 576 rebounds through 13 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 96-55 (.636) 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 60-19 (.759) 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 242 total blocks), Fernandez also ranks 14th in Crusader history with 610 career rebounds.
- Meanwhile, Peters passed John Wolfenberg last time out for 12th place in Valpo history in scoring with 1,435 career points.
- Peters is just one point shy of Jim Ford in 11th place in program history, and is just 35 points away from cracking the top-10.
- Peters also ranks fourth in 3-point % (43.2%) and in 3-pointers made (201), eighth in free throw % (82.0%) and 15th in rebounding (593).
- In addition, senior Keith Carter moved into Valpo’s all-time top-20 in assists at UIC and now ranks 20th in Crusader history with 241 career assists.