Valparaiso (21-6, 11-3 Horizon)
Game #28 - Sunday, Feb. 19 - 1 p.m. CT
at Detroit Mercy (6-20, 4-10 Horizon)
Calihan Hall (8,295) - Detroit, Mich.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team looks to get back on the winning track Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders conclude the Michigan road swing at Detroit Mercy. Valpo has not lost back-to-back games in the last three years.
Last Time Out: Valpo erased a seven-point halftime deficit within the first two minutes of the second half Friday night in Rochester, Mich., but Oakland responded with a 19-4 run over the next four minutes as the Crusaders fell by a final score of 82-71. Alec Peters led the Crusaders with 22 points, while Jaume Sorolla scored a career-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app - Andy Masur (PxP) and Tim Doyle (Analyst)
Radio – Valpo Sports Network [WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso); WVLP (103.1 FM, Valparaiso)] - Todd Ickow (PxP) and Aaron Leavitt (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: Valpo leads the all-time series with Detroit Mercy 17-11, including a 15-7 advantage since joining the Horizon League. The Crusaders, who are 8-6 all-time at Calihan Hall, have won the last three games in the series - including an 81-74 victory earlier this season at the ARC. Shane Hammink led Valpo in that win with 23 points, while Tevonn Walker recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds and Alec Peters contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds.
...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 Oakland
- Valpo erased a seven-point halftime deficit within the first two minutes of the second half, but Oakland responded with a 19-4 run over the next four-plus minutes and the Crusaders got no closer than eight the rest of the way.
- Alec Peters paced Valpo on Friday with 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
- Shane Hammink chipped in 15 points and five rebounds.
- Jaume Sorolla set a new career high with 14 points on Friday, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the foul line. The freshman also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
- The Crusaders finished the game just 6-of-21 from 3-point range and just 7-of-12 from the foul line.
- The Golden Grizzlies hit 8-of-20 from the 3-point line and were 24-of-31 at the charity stripe.
...notes from Youngstown State
- With the win, Valpo secured no worse than a fifth-place finish in the final Horizon League standings – the program’s ninth finish in the top half of the league in 10 seasons as a league member.
- Shane Hammink led the Crusaders in the scoring column for the second straight game, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting. It marked Hammink’s eighth 20+ point game of the season.
- Despite being limited to nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Alec Peters finished with 22 points and seven rebounds.
- With Peters limited in the first half, Tevonn Walker and Lexus Williams did a lot of their damage. Walker scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half and added six rebounds as well, while Williams scored 10 of his 11 points in the opening 20 minutes.
- Williams finished in double figures in the scoring column for just the fourth time this season and the first time in Horizon League play – the junior last scored in double figures in the win at Missouri State.
- The Crusaders hit six of their 11 3-pointer attempts in the first half and ended the game hitting at a 42.1% clip from 3-point range.
- The Crusaders continue their regular season-closing stretch of five games in 10 days with their final home game of the season on Tuesday at the ARC versus Milwaukee.
- Valpo then concludes the regular season on the road at Wright State and Northern Kentucky next weekend.
...on the road
- Valpo enters this season having posted a winning record in true road games three of the last four years, after having not done so the previous 10 seasons.
- Last year, the Crusaders posted a 12-4 record in true road games - including an 8-1 mark on the road in Horizon League play.
- This year’s team had just three true road games on the slate during the non-league schedule and currently sits at 5-4 in true road action.
- The Titans enter Sunday afternoon’s game at 6-20 overall this year and 4-10 within Horizon League play.
- Most recently, Detroit Mercy has dropped back-to-back home league games against Oakland and UIC.
- Jaleel Hogan leads the Titans, averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while Corey Allen scores 14.7 points per game on 46.3% 3-point shooting.
Bouncing Back Following Losses
- The Crusaders have proven adept over the last three seasons in games following a loss.
- Valpo has lost 16 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.
- 10 of those 16 wins have come by double figures, including seven 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.
- Valpo’s win over Cleveland State last Thursday 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.
- Nine of Valpo’s 11 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 last 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 two made free throws at Oakland, Peters now has made 168 free throws this season, second-most in a single season in program history.
- Peters is just nine 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 fourth place last time out with 623 points on the year - surpassing Bryce Drew’s junior and senior seasons.
- The senior also moved into the top-10 in single-season rebounding last week and currently ranks eighth with 284 rebounds - he is just six boards shy of seventh position.
- At his current rates (23.1 ppg/10.5 rpg), Peters would need five more games to break Bruce Lindner’s single-season scoring record (725 points; 1969-70) and nine 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 112-58 (.659).
- Valpo has 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 23.1 points/game - good for fifth nationally.
- Peters is also pulling down 10.5 rebounds/game and has recorded 16 double-doubles.
- Peters has recorded at least eight rebounds in 23 of Valpo’s 27 games.
- Peters ranks seventh nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s offensive rating (>28% possessions used) and is second nationally with 12 Game MVPs.
- As of the end of play Wednesday, Peters was fifth nationally in free throws made, 14th in field goals made, seventh in double-doubles, ninth in rebounding and 22nd 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 2,305 career points.
- Peters is just 14 points shy of passing former Detroit star Rashad Phillips and 16 points away from surpassing Chad Tucker (Butler) for third in Horizon League history.
- Peters currently ranks second in the nation among active scoring leaders and leads all active players with 132 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 and now owns 21 games with 20 or more points this season.
- Drew and Peters are the only Crusaders in that span with three separate seasons scoring 20+ points in at least 10 games.