Valparaiso (9-3, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #13 - Wednesday, Dec. 28 - 7 p.m.
Chicago State (4-10, 0-0 WAC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team takes aim at its 10th victory of the season as it closes out non-league play Wednesday evening at the ARC against Chicago State. Alec Peters enters the matchup just one point shy of reaching the 2,000 point milestone for his career.
Last Time Out: Valpo suffered its first non-league home defeat in over two years last Thursday night at the ARC, as the Crusaders fell to visiting Santa Clara in double overtime, 87-80. Alec Peters led the way with 35 points - 24 of which came in the second half - while Shane Hammink matched his career high for the third time this year, scoring 23 points.
Following the Crusaders: Video – ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app - Todd Ickow (PxP) and David Huseman (Analyst)
Radio – Valpo Sports Network [WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso); WVLP (103.1 FM, Valparaiso)]
Links for the video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich is in his first season at the helm of the Valparaiso University men’s basketball program in 2016-17 after being named the 22nd head coach in program history on April 7. Lottich previously served as an assistant coach for the last three seasons, helping Valpo earn 78 victories - including a school-record 30 last season - and a pair of Horizon League regular season titles.
Series Notes: Former conference foes in the Mid-Continent Conference, Valparaiso has dominated the all-time series against Chicago State and enters Wednesday night with a 32-3 advantage all-time versus the Cougars. Included among the 32 wins is a perfect 15-0 record against CSU at the ARC. The Crusaders have won the last six matchups between the two squads, including a 71-53 victory last season at Chicago State. Alec Peters matched a program record, going 6-for-6 from behind the 3-point line in posting a game-high 26 points, while Darien Walker hit four 3-pointers as well in a 12-point effort.
...and the @HorizonLeague
- Valpo was picked to win the Horizon League in preseason polling, earning 35 of the 39 first-place votes.
- The Crusaders have not finished worse than their preseason projection in the last six years.
- Senior Alec Peters was named the league’s Preseason Player of the Year, Valpo’s first league preseason player of the year since Lubos Barton (2001-02, Mid-Con).
- Senior Shane Hammink joined Peters as a preseason All-League choice, earning a spot on the Second Team.
...looking back at last year
- The 2015-16 Crusader squad won a school-record 30 games, finishing the year 30-7.
- Valpo claimed the Horizon League regular season title by going 16-2 in league play, winning the league by three games.
- The Crusaders were the first Horizon League team to win the league title by at least three games since 2009-10.
- The regular season title was Valpo’s fourth in a five-year span, a feat accomplished only by Butler and Xavier previously within the league.
- Valpo set new Horizon League records in league-only play for scoring margin, rebounds, rebounding average and rebound margin.
- The Crusaders received an automatic bid into the NIT and were awarded a 1 seed as one of the First Four Out of the NCAA Tournament.
- Valpo defeated Texas Southern, Florida State and Saint Mary’s at the ARC to advance to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
- The Crusaders beat BYU in a thriller at MSG before falling in the championship game of the NIT to George Washington.
- Vashil Fernandez led the nation in blocked shots, was named National Defensive Player of the Year and repeated as Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year.
- Alec Peters was an AP Honorable Mention All-American and earned a spot on the All-Horizon League First Team for a second straight year.
- Bryce Drew repeated as Horizon League Coach of the Year.
...notes from Santa Clara
- The Crusaders had a streak of 20 consecutive non-league home victories snapped. Valpo’s last home loss outside of league play came to New Mexico in December of 2014.
- The game was Valpo’s first overtime affair at the ARC since falling to Mercer in triple overtime in November of 2013.
- Peters finished with 35 points in a career-high 50 minutes, not coming off the floor for a single second. The senior was 12-of-28 from the floor and made a season-best six 3-pointers. He also grabbed 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year.
- Hammink joined Peters in playing the entire 50 minutes on Thursday night. The senior matched his career high for the third time this season by scoring 23 points, doing so on 8-of-12 shooting.
- The Crusaders were limited to just four second-chance points on six offensive rebounds and four bench points.
...notes from Indiana State
- Alec Peters finished with 29 points and a career-high tying 15 rebounds to lead all players. The double-double was his fifth of the season, while he finished with at least 20 points for the 11th straight game to open the year.
- Shane Hammink (16 points) and Tevonn Walker (15 points) joined Peters in double figures.
- Freshman Jaume Sorolla nearly came up with a double-double in his second straight start. Sorolla scored eight points and set a new career best with 12 rebounds – five of which came on the offensive end.
- Sorolla and Peters nearly combined to out-rebound the Sycamores all by themselves, as Valpo finished with a 49-31 edge on the glass. The Crusaders converted 15 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.
- Valpo enjoyed its best effort from the 3-point line this season, hitting 11 of its 22 attempts from downtown. Five different players hit multiple triples.
- Valpo opens Horizon League play on Dec. 30 with a quick trip across the state line for a nationally-televised game at UIC.
- The Crusaders then return home the following weekend to host Oakland on Friday, Jan. 6 (an ESPN2 broadcast) and Detroit Mercy on Sunday, Jan. 8.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 17 regular season home games scheduled at the ARC during the 2016-17 season and is already 6-1 at home this season.
- The Crusaders set a program record last year with 17 home victories, posting a 17-1 mark.
- Valpo has recorded a 38-3 record in home games since the start of the 2014-15 season.
- The Crusaders had a program-record 25-game home winning streak snapped Feb. 13 against Wright State, a streak which dated back to Dec. 2014.
- Over the last 21-plus years, the Crusaders own a 273-59 (.822) record on their home court at the ARC.
- The Cougars enter the ARC Wednesday night with a 4-10 record on the season, most recently splitting two games in Las Vegas with a 74-65 win over SEMO and an 83-65 loss to Troy.
- Wednesday’s game will mark the 11th true road game already this season for CSU, which has hosted just two home games.
- Fred Sims Jr. paces the Cougars with 17.6 points per game, while Trayvon Palmer contributes 14.4 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
- With his first point versus Chicago State, Alec Peters will become the second player in program history to reach 2,000 career points, joining Bryce Drew - who reached the mark Feb. 23, 1998 against UMKC.
- While Peters will need 118 games to reach the milestone as compared to 115 for Drew, Peters has played just 3,668 career minutes while Drew reached 2,000 points in 4,025 minutes of action.
- Assuming he scores a point against Chicago State, Peters and Drew will have both scored their second 1,000 points in exactly 50 games.
- Peters has tallied 419 career 2-pointers, 255 3-pointers and 396 free throws for his current total of 1,999 points.
- Peters enters Wednesday’s game with 95 career 10+ point games, 40 20+ point games and eight 30+ games, as compared to 99, 42 and four, respectively, for Drew through his 2,000-point game.
Peters’ Hot Start
- 12 games into the season, Alec Peters has scored at least 20 points in every game and is averaging 26.4 points/game - good for second nationally.
- Peters is also pulling down an even 10 rebounds/game and has recorded six double-doubles - he has recorded at least nine rebounds in 11 of Valpo’s 12 games.
- No college basketball player has averaged at least 26 points and 10 rebounds per game for a full season since Michael Beasley did so for Kansas State in 2007-08.
- Peters currently ranks fourth nationally in both field goals and free throws made, 11th in free throw percentage, 19th in double-doubles and 30th in rebounding.
- Peters has been named Horizon League Player of the Week three times this season, giving him eight career weekly honors from the league.
- Peters has moved into second place in program history and is now 11th in Horizon League history in career scoring with 1,999 career points - just four points outside the top-10.
- Peters currently ranks second among all active players in career scoring, while his 117 consecutive games started is best among all D-I players.
- For a full list of where Peters currently ranks in Horizon League and Valpo history, see the box on page four of the notes.
20 Or More Every Time Out
- Alec Peters has scored 20 or more points in each of Valpo’s 12 games this season, easily the longest streak of 20+ point games in recent Crusader history.
- Dating back to the 1994-95 season, Peters owns the two longest streaks of 20+ point games - he scored 20 or more in seven straight outings late last year.
- The longest streak of 20+ point games by somebody other than Peters in that span is five consecutive games - Bryce Drew (1996-97) and Dan Oppland (2004-05).
- The most games with 20 or more points in a single season in that span came in 2004-05, as Oppland scored at least 20 points on 18 occasions.
- Drew and Peters are the only Crusaders in that span with three separate seasons scoring 20+ points in at least 10 games.
- In fact, the last two games, Peters has only needed a single half to hit 20 points - he scored 23 points in the first half versus Indiana State, and 24 points in the second half against Santa Clara.
- The Crusaders are looking to enter league play with 10 victories under their belt for the fourth time in the last five years.
- Valpo owns a 50-19 (.725) record in pre-league action since the Horizon League eliminated the early December league weekend prior to the 2012-13 season.
- A win on Wednesday would mean Valpo enters league play with a 10-3 record for the second consecutive year.
Bouncing Back Following Losses
- The Crusaders have proven adept over the last two-plus years in games following a loss.
- Valpo has lost 13 times (not counting the final game of the season) since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, and each time has rebounded with a victory next time out.
- Eight of those 13 wins have come by double figures, including six wins by 20 or more - the Crusaders’ average margin of victory has been 16.3 points.
- Valpo has 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.
Beating Ranked Teams
- Valpo snapped a 40-game winless streak against nationally-ranked opposition on Nov. 29 with the win over Rhode Island.
- The Crusaders had not taken down a top-25 opponent since their win over Ole Miss in the first round of the 1998 NCAA Tournament.
- Prior to the win over the Rams, Valpo had not earned a home win over a top-25 team since beating Notre Dame in December of 1988.
Starting on a Winning Note
- Head coach Matt Lottich became the first Crusader coach in 36 years to open his head coaching tenure at Valpo with a win with the victory over SUU.
- Tom Smith was the last Valpo head coach to start his Crusader career with a win, winning three straight in six days at home to open the 1980-81 campaign.
- The Drews all faced tough competition in their head coaching debuts at Valpo: Homer at Butler, Scott at eventual national champion Syracuse, and Bryce at Arizona.
- Lottich was the first coach to start his Valpo career with a 7-1 record since Wilbur Allen started off the 1949-50 season by winning seven of the season’s first eight games.
Addition to the Trophy Case
- Valpo’s wins over Alabama and BYU gave the Crusaders the Heavyweight championship belt at the Men Who Speak Up Main Event.
- The title is the program’s fourth in-season championship in the last seven years.
- Valpo most recently earned the championship trophy in November 2014 at the Challenge in Music City.
- The Crusaders took home top honors in November 2010 at the Las Vegas Invitational and in December 2010 at the Lou Henson Award Tournament.
Wins Over Power Conference Foes
- Valpo’s win over Alabama marked its third over a power conference opponent in the last two seasons.
- The Crusaders went on the road to beat Oregon State last season and then took down Florida State at the ARC in the second round of the NIT.
- Prior to last season’s win over Oregon State, Valpo had not defeated a team from the power-5 conferences since winning at Washington in the 2008 CBI.
- Nine out of Valpo’s last 12 victories over opponents out of the power-5 conferences have come on neutral courts.
A Look at the Record Book
- Lexus Williams matched the program’s single-game steals record with seven against Trinity Christian.
- Williams tied a record previously shared by Milo Stovall (Dec. 12, 1999 - Texas A&M-CC) and Bryce Drew (Dec. 7, 1996 - Milwaukee).
- Meanwhile, Alec Peters attempted 29 shots versus the Trolls - the most by a Crusader in at least 22 years. Peters then tossed up 28 shots last time out against Santa Clara.
- Valpo matched a program record as a team with a perfect performance at the foul line at Oregon, going 14-of-14 from the charity stripe.
- The Crusaders’ 17 steals against Ball State as a team were third-most all-time, just two shy of the record of 19 (vs. Centenary, 12/10/88).
- Williams picked up six steals against the Cardinals, tied for fourth-most in a game by a single player.