#--/rv Valparaiso (23-5, 13-2 Horizon)
Game #29 - Sunday, February 21 - 1:30 p.m.
Detroit (15-12, 9-7 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team takes to the court at the ARC for the final time in the 2015-16 regular season on Sunday afternoon, as the Crusaders host Detroit in matinee action on Senior Day. Valpo would secure the outright Horizon League regular season crown with a win over the Titans.
Last Time Out: In another classic matchup in the series, it was Valpo which held off Oakland runs throughout Friday night’s matchup at the ARC, as the Crusaders led nearly start to finish and staved off one final rally from the Golden Grizzlies at the end to earn an 86-84 victory. The Crusaders led by 15 with 4:19 to play, and after a 10-0 Oakland run cut into the lead, Alec Peters connected on a key 3-pointer with one minute remaining. Peters paced Valpo with team highs of 16 points and 14 rebounds.
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 (117-47) 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: The Crusaders hold a 15-11 advantage in the all-time series over the Titans, including a 13-7 mark since joining the Horizon League prior to the 2007-08 campaign. Valpo captured the first meeting of the season in Detroit in early January behind a career effort from Alec Peters, who set new career highs with 39 points and 14 rebounds.
...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 Oakland
- The win over the Golden Grizzlies secured at least a share of the regular season title for the Crusaders.
- Valpo won despite posting its worst defensive efficiency of the season, and earned its first win of the year when surrendering more than one point per possession (1-4).
- The Crusaders showcased their balance on Friday, as six players scored in double figures - including all five members of the starting lineup.
- Alec Peters posted his 10th double-double of the year with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 14 rebounds.
- Valpo forced 14 Oakland turnovers while committing just six miscues of its own and held a 15-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
- The Crusaders led by as many as 17 points, and despite numerous Oakland runs, the Golden Grizzlies only had the ball with a chance to tie once in the second half.
- Valpo threw down six dunks during the game, including five slam jams by Vashil Fernandez.
- The Crusaders close the regular season with the Wisconsin road swing, heading to Milwaukee next Friday and Green Bay next Sunday.
- The game against the Panthers has been set for a 6 p.m. tip and will be televised on ESPN2 - the third game for the Crusaders on the network this season.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 15 regular season home games scheduled for the Athletics-Recreation Center in 2015-16 and is 13-1 at home this year.
- The Crusaders had their school-record 25-game home winning streak snapped last Saturday against Wright State - the winning streak had dated back to December 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 263-58 (.819) winning percentage on their home court.
- Detroit enters Sunday’s contest at 15-12 overall and 9-7 in Horizon League play this season.
- The Titans are coming off of an 83-72 victory at UIC Friday night - Detroit’s sixth win in its last seven games.
- Sophomore Paris Bass leads the way for the Titans, averaging 18.3 points and eight rebounds per game.
- Four Detroit players score in double figures as the Titans score 83.7 ppg as a team, but surrender 81.8 ppg on the defensive end.
Celebrating the Seniors
- Prior to Sunday’s game, the Crusader men’s basketball program will celebrate the four members of their senior class as part of Senior Day ceremonies.
- Darien Walker and E. Victor Nickerson have played two seasons for the Crusaders, wihle Keith Carter has played three years and Vashil Fernandez is in his fourth season.
- Valpo has enjoyed tremendous success on Senior Day over the past two-plus decades, as the Crusaders own a 22-2 record over the last 24 years in their final home game.
Continued Tradition of Excellence
- Friday’s win over Oakland secured at least a share of the 2015-16 Horizon League regular season title for the Crusaders.
- It marks the fourth Horizon League regular season championship in the last five years for Valpo, all under current head coach Bryce Drew.
- The title is the 16th regular season championship in Crusader men’s basketball history, 13 of which have come since 1995.
- With a win Sunday, Valpo will clinch the outright championship and the top seed for the upcoming Horizon League Championship.
Rolling in the Wins
- This season marked 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 Crusader team reached 20 victories with the win at UIC - the 19th team in Valpo men’s basketball history to win at least 20 games and the fourth under Bryce Drew.
- The victory last time out over Oakland was Valpo’s 23rd of the season, just the 10th time in program history the Crusaders have won at least 23 games.
Lopsided League Games
- While two of Valpo’s last three games have been two-point decisions, that’s been far from the norm this year for the Crusaders in league play.
- Outside of the two losses to WSU and the win last time out, the Crusaders have had little drama in the stretch run of Horizon League games, as each of their first 12 league wins came 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 six league road wins by 17 or more points after winning just five such games total over the last four years combined.
Challenging League Records
- This year’s Crusaders are in position to potentially break a number of Horizon League records.
- Valpo is poised to break the league record for rebounds in league-only play against Detroit, as the Crusaders enter Sunday with 661 boards in league play - the current record is 689, by Milwaukee in 2008-09.
- Other records the Crusaders could challenge include (Valpo current mark in parentheses):
- Overall scoring margin, +12.6, 2001-02 Butler (+15.0)
- Overall rebounding average, 41.8, 1990-91 Dayton (41.9)
- Overall rebounding margin, +10.4, 1989-90 Xavier (+10.1)
- League-only scoring margin, +13.2, 2009-10 Butler (+16.1)
- League-only rebounding average, 43.2, 1981-82 Loyola (44.1)
- League-only rebounding margin, +11.1, 1986-87 Loyola (+14.0)
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 Friday’s results, Valpo ranked 58th 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 Friday’s results, Valpo ranks #28 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 Friday’s results, Valpo ranked third in the nation in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency, trailing only Louisville and Wichita State.
- Despite surrendering 84 points last time out to Oakland, Valpo’s scoring defense (59.8 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (37.5%) both rank third nationally.
- Valpo has held 12 Division I opponents to one of their three worst offensive efficiencies of the season.
- Valpo has given up 47 or fewer points six 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 +10.0 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 held the advantage on the glass in all 15 Horizon League games and have held a double-figure advantage in nine of the 15 games.
- In league play to date, Valpo owns an average edge on the boards of +13.9, while Alec Peters (8.9 rpg) and Vashil Fernandez (8.8 rpg) rank 2-3 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 98-55 (.641) in nine years as a Horizon League member and have had just one sub-.500 season in league play.
- Valpo has captured four of the last five Horizon League regular season titles.
- In Bryce Drew’s fifth season at the helm, the Crusaders are 62-19 (.765) within Horizon League play.
Look at the Record Book
- Both senior Vashil Fernandez and junior Alec Peters are moving up the Crusader record books in a number of categories.
- Beyond his school-record block total (now at 251 total blocks), Fernandez also ranks 14th in Crusader history with 618 career rebounds, just four shy of 13th place.
- Meanwhile, Peters ranks 11th in Valpo history in scoring with 1,466 career points and is just four points shy of matching David Redmon for 10th place all-time at Valpo.
- Peters also ranks fourth in 3-point % (43.3%) and in 3-pointers made (204), eighth in free throw % (81.9%) and 15th in rebounding (617).
- In addition, senior Keith Carter moved into Valpo’s all-time top-20 in assists at UIC and now ranks 18th in Crusader history with 252 career assists.
- With his three blocks last time out, Fernandez has 81 blocks this season - second on the single-season charts, behind only his 98-block mark from last year.