Valparaiso (20-5, 10-2 Horizon)
Game #26 - Saturday, Feb. 11 - 7 p.m.
Youngstown State (10-16, 4-9 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball:Saturday night basketball at the ARC is on tap for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team this weekend, as the Crusaders host Youngstown State in their penultimate home game of the 2016-17 season on Hall of Fame Night. Valpo has won 14 straight meetings at the ARC versus the Penguins.
Last Time Out: Valpo picked up its 20th win of the season in dominating fashion on Thursday evening at the ARC, never trailing and leading by 20 at the half in an eventual 78-57 victory over Cleveland State. Five Crusader players scored at least nine points in a balanced effort, led by 15 points from Shane Hammink.
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: Valpo has dominated the all-time series with YSU, as the Crusaders own a 34-9 record against the Penguins - including an 18-2 mark since joining the Horizon League. The dominance has been even more pronounced at the ARC, with Valpo holding a 21-1 record in 22 meetings with YSU at home. The Crusaders have won 14 straight at the ARC over the Penguins, and eight straight matchups overall in the series - most recently a 78-62 victory earlier this season in Youngstown. Four Valpo players scored in double figures in that win, led by 17 points and 15 rebounds from Alec Peters.
...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 Cleveland State
- Five different Crusaders scored at least nine points in a balanced effort on Thursday.
Leading the way was Shane Hammink, who finished 6-of-11 from the field for 15 points.
- Jaume Sorolla matched his career best with 12 points, hitting on 5-of-7 from the floor. He also pulled down eight rebounds.
- Alec Peters added 12 points as well and also ripped down 14 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season.
- Derrik Smits finished one point shy of his high in a Valpo uniform, also going 5-of-7 for 10 points. The freshman, who had tallied just eight assists in the Crusaders’ first 11 Horizon League games, dished out a game-high five helpers on Thursday.
- The Crusaders shot better than 50% from the floor for the fifth time this season, finishing 32-of-62 (51.6%). Valpo was especially efficient inside the arc, hitting 62.5% (25-of-40) of its two-point attempts.
- Valpo also handed out 22 assists on its 32 baskets, just one helper shy of the team’s single-game high this season. The Crusaders tallied the 22 assists against just nine turnovers – their best single-game assist-to-turnover ratio of the year.
...notes from Green Bay
- The Crusaders entered the game 19th in the nation in rebounding margin (+7.1) and were a league-best +10.4 on the glass within Horizon League-only play, but were dominated on the glass by the Phoenix.
- Green Bay out-rebounded Valpo, 53-32 – 20 of the Phoenix’s 53 rebounds came on the offensive boards.
- The -21 margin on the glass was the Crusaders’ worst since the 2014 squad was out-rebounded by 22 by Milwaukee in the second round of the Horizon League Championship at Green Bay.
- Meanwhile, the Crusaders surrendered 20 offensive rebounds on the road against the Phoenix for a second straight season – Green Bay converted those opportunities into 17 second-chance points on Saturday.
- Valpo also struggled to keep the Phoenix off the foul line, as Green Bay attempted 35 free throws – the most the Crusaders have surrendered this year. Valpo’s -17 differential in free throw attempts was also its worst of the season.
- Valpo makes its annual Horizon League road trip to Michigan next week, facing Oakland in front of a national TV audience on Friday night before taking on Detroit Mercy on Sunday afternoon.
- The Crusaders then play their final home game of the year the following Tuesday as they welcome Milwaukee to the ARC.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 17 regular season home games scheduled at the ARC during the 2016-17 season and is 13-2 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 45-4 record in home games since the start of the 2014-15 season.
- Over the last 21-plus years, the Crusaders own a 280-60 (.824) record on their home court at the ARC.
- The Penguins enter Saturday night’s game at 10-16 overall and 4-9 within Horizon League play.
- YSU has dropped its last three games, including an 84-81 loss at UIC Thursday evening despite Cameron Morse scoring a career-high tying 44 points.
- Morse paces the Penguins, averaging 22.9 points per game, while Francisco Santiago adds 12 points, 5.3 rebounds and five assists per contest.
Barton Joins Hall of Fame
- Former Crusader basketball standout Lubos Barton is one of three inductees in this year’s Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame class.
- Barton is the 24th former men’s basketball student-athlete to be inducted to the Hall of Fame and the most recent graduate (2002).
- Barton helped lead Valpo to three Mid-Con regular season and tournament titles, along with three NCAA Tournament appearances.
- Barton was a four-time All-League honoree, Mid-Con Player of the Year in 2002 and Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year in 1999.
- Barton holds Valpo’s single-season and career steals records, and also ranks fifth in program history in scoring, sixth in rebounding and seventh in assists.
- Valpo’s win over Cleveland State last time out came by 21 points, the team’s third win by at least 20 points within Horizon League play this year.
- The Crusaders are responsible for three of the four 20+ point decisions in Horizon League action - the only other team to win a league game by at least 20 was Wright State’s 21-point win over Oakland.
- Eight of Valpo’s 10 Horizon League wins have come by double figures.
- The 2014-15 championship team won just five league games by 10 or more points, including just two by 20+ points.
- Last year’s team dominated in setting a league record for scoring margin within league-only play, winning six games by at least 20 points and seven more by 10-19 points.
- With the win Thursday over Cleveland State, the Crusaders became the 20th team in program history to reach the 20-win mark.
- 15 of Valpo’s previous 19 20-win seasons have come within the last 23 years.
- Thursday’s win made this year’s squad the third-earliest (based on calendar date) in program history to reach the 20-win mark - the 2014-15 team won its 20th game on Jan. 31, while last year’s team earned win number 20 on Feb. 6.
- Alec Peters needed just 4:31 to score his seventh point at home 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).
- Peters’ career-high 16th rebound of the Green Bay home game moved him past Chris Ensminger atop the Valpo record book with his 911th career rebound.
- Peters broke his first Valpo career record in the win at YSU, as his first basket of that game surpassed Drew’s record of 696 made field goals.
- Most recently, Peters connected on a free throw with 15 seconds to play versus NKU to break Ed Eckart’s Valpo career record of 452 free throws made.
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.
- The 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 two 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, while Luke Harangody tallied 2,476 points and 1,222 rebounds at Notre Dame.
- With three made free throws at Green Bay, Peters now has made 158 free throws this season, third-most in a single campaign in program history.
- Peters is just 19 free throws away from Bruce Lindner’s single-season record of 177, set during the 1969-70 season.
- Peters cracked the top-10 scoring list at Green Bay, and moved up to seventh place last time out with 579 points on the year - just 16 points out of sixth position.
- The senior also moved into the top-10 in single-season rebounding last time out (272 boards), and is just nine rebounds away from eighth place on that chart.
- At his current rates (23.2 ppg/10.9 rpg), Peters would need seven more games to break Bruce Lindner’s single-season scoring record (725 points; 1969-70) and 10 more games to break Joel Oberman’s rebounding record (375 boards; 1973-74).
Continued Success Within the League
- Valpo has been strong within Horizon League play since joining the league prior to the 2007-08 season.
- Currently in their 10th season as a Horizon League member, the Crusaders own a league record of 111-57 (.661).
- Last Thursday’s win over Milwaukee secured a ninth season at .500 or above through the Crusaders’ first 10 seasons in the league.
- Valpo has captured four of the last five Horizon League regular season titles.
Peters’ Impressive Season
- Peters was recently named to the midseason top-30 list for the Naismith Trophy, the midseason top-19 list for the Oscar Robertson Trophy (both national Player of the Year awards) and the top-10 finalists for the Karl Malone Award (national Power Forward of the Year).
- Peters is currently averaging 23.2 points/game - good for fifth nationally.
- Peters is also pulling down 10.9 rebounds/game and has recorded 16 double-doubles.
- Peters has recorded at least eight rebounds in 23 of Valpo’s 25 games.
- Peters leads all D-I players in Ken Pomeroy’s Game MVP stat, garnering 12 game MVPs this season, and ranks eighth nationally in offensive rating (>28% possessions used).
- As of the end of play Thursday, Peters was fifth nationally in free throws made, 11th in field goals made, sixth in double-doubles, eighth in rebounding and 19th in free throw percentage.
- Peters has been named Horizon League Player of the Week four times this season, 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 2,261 career points.
- Peters currently ranks second in the nation among active scoring leaders and leads all active players with 130 consecutive games started.
- 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).
- Prior to this season, 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 posted his 19th 20-point game of the year at Green Bay to break Oppland’s mark.
- 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 was its third over a power conference opponent in the last two years - 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 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.
- Peters has now played 130 career games, tied for fifth-most by a Crusader all time.