Valparaiso (16-4, 6-1 Horizon)
Game #21 - Friday, Jan. 27 - 7 p.m.
Wright State (14-7, 5-3 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: Back in its familiar spot atop the Horizon League standings, the Valparaiso University basketball team looks to secure its hold on first place as the league slate approaches the halfway mark. The Crusaders host Wright State Friday evening on Military Night at the ARC, with a special national anthem performance by Jim Cornelison and pregame ceremony honoring Alec Peters becoming the program’s career scoring and rebounding leader. The Valpo coaching staff will also be wearing sneakers with their suits as part of Suits and Sneakers Week in support of Coaches vs. Cancer.
Last Time Out: Valpo senior Alec Peters became the Crusaders’ career scoring leader with a basket 4:31 into Sunday afternoon’s game at the ARC against UIC, surpassing Bryce Drew’s record, and went on to finish with 30 points and 10 rebounds as Valpo rolled the Flames by a 96-65 final. Fellow senior Shane Hammink set a career high with 24 points in the victory as well.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app - Will Haskett (PxP) and Chris Sparks (Analyst)
Radio – Valpo Sports Network [WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso); WVLP (103.1 FM, Valparaiso)] - Todd Ickow (PxP) and David Huseman (Analyst)
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: It’s been a tight series all-time between the two programs, as Wright State holds a narrow 15-13 edge overall, while the Crusaders have enjoyed a 7-6 advantage since joining the Horizon League prior to the 2007-08 season. Valpo is 6-4 in the last 10 matchups, but last season, the Raiders were the only squad to beat the Crusaders within league play, besting Valpo twice - 61-59 at the ARC and 73-62 at the Nutter Center.
...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 UIC
- Alec Peters’ record-breaking point came on the 457th two-point basket of his career. The senior has made 438 free throws, 465 two-point baskets and 266 3-pointers for 2,166 career points.
- Peters finished Sunday’s win with 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the field, his 10th career effort of at least 30 points. He also finished with 10 rebounds, picking up his 13th double-double of the season.
- After scoring exactly 23 points for his career high four times this season, Shane Hammink finally set a new career best with 24 points.
- Jaume Sorolla also tied his career high, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting while also pulling down six rebounds.
- Max Joseph scored in double figures for the third time this year, chipping in 10 points and not missing a shot.
- 11 Crusaders saw the floor in all on Sunday, with 10 of those players playing at least 10 minutes. 10 different Crusaders scored as well.
- The Crusaders shot a season-best 54.2% (32-of-59) from the field and also continued their strong season at the foul line, going 26-of-30 (86.7%) at the charity stripe.
- Valpo committed just nine turnovers while forcing 16 UIC miscues. The Crusaders enjoyed a significant 26-10 advantage in points off of turnovers.
...notes from Green Bay
- The 24-point victory was the largest within Horizon League play by any league team this season until the Crusaders’ win over UIC.
- Alec Peters grabbed seven rebounds in the first half before coming away with nine boards in the second half to set the career record with 911 career rebounds before being lifted from the game.
- Peters’ 16 rebounds set a new single-game high for the senior, as he had previously grabbed 15 rebounds on four separate occasions.
- Valpo pulled away in the second half with a 17-0 run which pushed a seven-point lead to 24 points with about 13 minutes remaining.
- Tevonn Walker hit 6-of-10 from the floor for 13 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds, picking up his second double-double in the last four games.
- Shane Hammink tallied 12 points and five rebounds, while Micah Bradford came up just one point shy of his career high as he finished with 11 points.
- Valpo hit 40.9% from the 3-point line, its third-best percentage of the year from beyond the arc. Four different Crusaders connected on multiple triples.
- Valpo also held a decided advantage inside, out-scoring the Phoenix in the paint, 40-24.
- Facing a Green Bay team which touts its RP40 system of relentless pressure, the Crusaders committed a season-low eight turnovers and limited the Phoenix to just two fast-break points.
- Valpo closes its current four-game homestand on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders take on Northern Kentucky for the first time this season.
- The Crusaders then make the road swing through the state of Wisconsin next Thursday and Saturday.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 17 regular season home games scheduled at the ARC during the 2016-17 season and is 10-2 to date 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 42-4 record in home games since the start of the 2014-15 season.
- Over the last 21-plus years, the Crusaders own a 277-60 (.822) record on their home court at the ARC.
- Wright State enters Friday’s matchup at 14-7 overall and 5-3 within Horizon League play, coming off two wins by a combined 39 points over Detroit Mercy and Oakland last weekend at home.
- The Raiders are 5-5 on the road this year and have split their first two Horizon League road trips.
- Four WSU players average in double figures, led by 17.8 points per game from Mark Alstork and 15.4 points per game from Steven Davis.
All-Time Scoring Leader
- Peters needed just 4:31 to score his seventh point against UIC and surpass Bryce Drew’s Valpo career scoring record of 2,142 career points.
- While Peters needed 125 games to break Drew’s record, which was set in 121 games, Peters played over 300 fewer minutes than Drew to surpass the mark.
- Peters is just the fourth different player to hold Valpo’s career scoring record in the last 48 years (Bruce Lindner-1970; Tracy Gipson-1993; Bryce Drew-1998).
Cleaning the Boards
- Peters’ career-high 16th rebound of the Green Bay game moved him past Chris Ensminger atop the Valpo record book with his 911th career rebound.
- Peters’ effort versus Green Bay was the 38th time in his career he pulled down at least 10 rebounds in a game.
- At his current rate of 10.9 rebounds/game this season, Peters would need to play in 14 more games to claim the single-season rebounding record from Ensminger - a mark the latter set at 368 as a senior in the 1995-96 season.
Atop Both Lists
- By breaking the career scoring record, Peters joined an illustrious group of players who hold both scoring and rebounding records at their alma maters.
- Thr group numbers about 50 players, and includes such all-time greats as Oscar Robertson, Danny Manning, Jerry West, Bill Bradley, Larry Bird and David Robinson.
- Meanwhile, Peters is going to go down as one of the top players in Indiana college basketball history as well.
- There are currently only three players from Indiana D-I schools who finished their careers with more points and rebounds than Peters has amassed to date.
- Bird posted 2,850 points and 1,247 rebounds at Indiana State, Luke Harangody tallied 2,476 points and 1,222 rebounds at Notre Dame and Joe Barry Carroll finished his time at Purdue with 2,175 points and 1,148 rebounds.
Caution - Falling Records
- Peters broke his first Valpo career record at YSU, surpassing Bryce Drew’s career field goals made record of 696 with his first basket against the Penguins.
- Peters has now pushed that mark up to 731 field goals made for his career.
- The senior is also poised to break Ed Eckart’s 60-year-old record for career free throws made, as he is 14 shy of Eckart’s mark of 452 makes from the stripe.
- Peters has appeared in 125 career games (all of which have been starts), with the UIC game moving him into the top-10 in Valpo history in games played - he is chasing Erik Buggs’ record of 138 games played.
Taking Advantage of Charity
- As of the end of play Wednesday, Valpo ranked second nationally as a team in free throw pct., hitting at a 80.8% clip from the foul line this season.
- Valpo’s top three in free throw attempts this season are all hitting at 83% or better for the year.
- Through 20 games, Valpo has made 10 more free throws (395) than its opponents have attempted (385).
- The Crusaders have connected on at least 80% of their free throw attempts in 11 games this year, and have been under 70% just three times.
Hitting the Glass
- The Crusaders enjoyed their highest rebound margin of the year in the win at YSU, owning a 46-24 advantage on the glass.
- Valpo then backed that up with another large edge on the boards at CSU, out-rebounding the Vikings, 43-25, and followed with a 51-39 advantage over Green Bay on the boards.
- Valpo has been at least a plus-10 on the glass seven times this year, while the Crusaders have been out-rebounded just three times.
- Over the last four games, the Crusaders have grabbed 45 offensive rebounds and converted them into 58 second-chance points.
- In league-only play, Valpo paces the league with an average of +10.7 on the glass, while overall this year, the Crusaders rank second in the league (+6.8).
- Senior Shane Hammink is quietly putting together an All-League caliber season alongside Peters.
- Hammink ranks second on the team and eighth in the Horizon League, averaging 15.3 points per game.
- Hammink has scored 20 or more points on six occasions this year, including four efforts of 23 points and a career-best 24 points last time out versus UIC.
- The senior is hitting at a 50% clip from the floor, including a sterling 60.4% mark from 2-point range, and a stellar 83.7% clip from the foul line.
- The freshman duo of Derrik Smits and Jaume Sorolla have been strong for the Crusaders in the middle in Horizon League action.
- Sorolla is fourth in scoring and second in rebounding among Crusaders in league play, while Smits is fifth in scoring and fourth in rebounding.
- Combined, Smits and Sorolla are averaging 14.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest in league play.
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 107-56 (.656) in their first nine -plus 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.
Peters’ Impressive Season
- Peters was recently named to the midseason top-25 list for the Wooden Award, presented to the nation’s most outstanding college basketball player, and the midseason top-19 list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
- Peters is currently averaging 24.2 points/game - good for second nationally.
- Peters is also pulling down 10.9 rebounds/game and has recorded 13 double-doubles.
- Peters has recorded at least nine rebounds in 19 of Valpo’s 20 games.
- Peters leads all D-I players in Ken Pomeroy’s Game MVP stat, garnering 10 game MVPs this season, and ranks seventh nationally in offensive rating (>28% possessions used).
- As of the end of play Wednesday, Peters was third nationally in free throws made, seventh in field goals made, sixth in double-doubles, 10th in rebounding and 14th in free throw percentage.
- Peters has been named Horizon League Player of the Week four times this season, including this past Monday, giving him nine career weekly honors from the league.
- Peters has moved into first place in program history and is now fifth in Horizon League history in career scoring with 2,166 career points.
- Peters currently leads all active players in career scoring, while his 125 consecutive games started are also 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 Points
- Alec Peters scored 20 or more points in each of Valpo’s first 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 - Peters currently has 16 such efforts this year.
- Drew and Peters are the only Crusaders in that span with three separate seasons scoring 20+ points in at least 10 games.
- The Crusaders entered league play with at least 10 victories under their belt for the fourth time in the last five years following the Chicago State win.
- Valpo owns a 51-19 (.729) record in pre-league action since the Horizon League eliminated the early December league weekend prior to the 2012-13 season.
- This is the second straight year that Valpo entered league play with a 10-3 record in the pre-league campaign.
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.