Valparaiso (22-6, 12-3 Horizon)
Game #29 - Tuesday, Feb. 21 - 7 p.m.
Milwaukee (8-20, 4-11 Horizon)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) - Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team hits the floor at the ARC for the final time in the regular season on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders host Milwaukee on Senior Night. The program’s seniors will be honored prior to the game and will address the fans following the game.
Last Time Out: Valpo got back to basics Sunday afternoon at Detroit Mercy, taking advantage of a size advantage across the board to pound the Titans inside en route to an 83-63 victory. The Crusaders out-scored the Titans in the paint, 42-18. Alec Peters led the way with 20 points, while Shane Hammink added 15 and Tevonn Walker posted 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app - Todd Ickow (PxP), David Huseman (Analyst) and David Horak (Sidelines)
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 owns a 21-12 advantage in the all-time series with the Panthers, and has dominated Milwaukee recently, winning 10 of the previous 11 matchups with UWM. Earlier this season, Valpo downed the Panthers by a 71-53 final, using a 20-4 spurt to start the second half to pull away. Alec Peters had 22 points and seven rebounds, while Micah Bradford scored a career-high 14 points.
...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 Detroit Mercy
- With the win, the Crusaders improved to 17-0 in the last three seasons in games following a loss. Valpo has won 11 of those 17 games by double figures, including eight victories by at least 20 points.
-Valpo dominated the Titans in the paint, out-scoring Detroit Mercy 42-18 in that category. The 42 points in the paint was the Crusaders’ second-highest output of the season in the category versus D-I opposition and was the fourth time they have scored at least 40 in league play.
-The Crusaders also forced 15 Titan turnovers and turned them into 18 points off turnovers. Meanwhile, Valpo committed just eight turnovers – including just three miscues in the game’s final 30 minutes.
- Valpo got out on the break against the Detroit Mercy pressure, scoring 14 fast-break points. The Crusaders also hit the boards hard, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds for the game and scoring 18 second-chance points.
- Alec Peters paced Valpo in the scoring column, finishing with 20 points for his 22nd game of 20 or more points on the year.
- Shane Hammink went 6-of-10 from the field for 15 points and also blocked a pair of shots as the Crusaders totaled six team blocks in the win.
- Tevonn Walker bounced back from a rough outing Friday for his third double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
...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.
- Valpo concludes the regular season on the road this weekend, traveling to Wright State on Friday and Northern Kentucky on Sunday.
...at the ARC
- Valpo has 17 regular season home games scheduled at the ARC during the 2016-17 season and is 14-2 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 46-4 record in home games since the start of the 2014-15 season.
- Over the last 21-plus years, the Crusaders own a 281-60 (.824) record on their home court at the ARC.
- The Panthers enter Tuesday’s game at 8-20 overall and sit at 4-11 in Horizon League play.
- Milwaukee has dropped its last six contests, including the loss at home to the Crusaders earlier this month.
- Cody Wichmann leads the Panthers, averaging 13.5 ppg, while Brock Stull adds 12.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest.
Celebrating the Seniors
- Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Crusader men’s basketball program will celebrate the five members of their senior class, as well as their two senior managers, as part of Senior Day ceremonies.
- Jason Karys is in his first season as a player, while Shane Hammink has played two years as a Crusader. Jubril Adekoya, Nick Davidson and Alec Peters all came in together at the start of the 2013-14 season as four-year players.
- Valpo has enjoyed tremendous success on Senior Day over the past two-plus decades, as the Crusaders own a 23-2 record over the last 25 years in their final home game.
A Look at the Standings
- Valpo enters the final week of the regular season in first place by one game over Oakland, and with a two-game edge over both Wright State and Green Bay.
- The Golden Grizzlies own the tiebreaker over the Crusaders by virtue of the season sweep.
- Two wins in the three games this week would guarantee the Crusaders no worse than a top-two seed in the Horizon League Championship.
- Valpo’s win at Detroit Mercy last time out came by 20 points, the team’s fourth win by at least 20 points within Horizon League play this year.
- The Crusaders are responsible for four of the six 20+ point decisions in Horizon League action - the only other teams with a 20+ point win in league play are Wright State and Green Bay.
- 10 of Valpo’s 12 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 home win 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.
- The win over the Vikings 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 one made free throws at Detroit Mercy, Peters now has made 169 free throws this season, second-most in a single season in program history.
- Peters is just eight 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 at Oakland. He now has scored 643 points on the year - 19 shy of Dick Jones’ 1966-67 campaign for third in program history.
- The senior also ranks eighth in a single season in program history in rebounding with 289 rebounds - one shy of seventh position and 10 out of sixth.
- At his current rates (23.0 ppg/10.3 rpg), Peters would need four 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 113-58 (.661).
- 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 23.0 points/game - good for eighth nationally.
- Peters is also pulling down 10.3 rebounds/game and has recorded 16 double-doubles.
- Peters has recorded at least eight rebounds in 23 of Valpo’s 28 games.
- Peters ranks eighth nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s offensive rating (>28% possessions used) and is second nationally with 13 Game MVPs.
- As of the end of play Sunday, Peters was sixth nationally in free throws made, seventh in field goals made, ninth in double-doubles, 15th in rebounding and 24th 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 third in Horizon League history in career scoring with 2,325 career points.
- Peters currently ranks second in the nation among active scoring leaders and leads all active players with 133 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 22 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.