Valparaiso (23-6, 13-3 Horizon)
Game #30 - Friday, Feb. 24 - 6:30 p.m. CT
at Wright State (19-10, 10-6 Horizon)
Nutter Center (10,449) - Dayton, Ohio
Next Up in Crusader Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team begins its final road trip of the regular season on Friday evening as they travel to the state of Ohio to take on Wright State. The Crusaders can secure at least a share of the Horizon League regular season championship with a win Friday night.
Last Time Out: Valpo came out on the right side of a hard-fought battle at the ARC Tuesday evening, earning a 67-61 victory over Milwaukee on Senior Night. The Crusaders were up 11 in the waning seconds of the victory, which featured just 58 possessions - the fewest in a game since the shot clock moved to 30 seconds. Alec Peters led the way with 23 points in 33 minutes of action.
Following the Crusaders: Video - ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app
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: Wright State holds a slight 15-14 edge in the all-time series and is 9-5 all-time versus Valpo at the Nutter Center. The Crusaders hold a 12-10 advantage in the series since joining the Horizon League prior to the 2007-08 campaign, however, including a 70-55 victory earlier this season at the ARC. In that win, Alec Peters dominated with 25 points and 14 rebounds, while the Crusaders limited the Raiders to just 3-of-28 shooting from the 3-point line.
...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 Milwaukee
- Valpo improved to 24-2 in the last 26 seasons on Senior Night.
- Alec Peters led all players with 23 points, including four 3-pointers, in 33 minutes of action. He passed Dick Jones’ 1966-67 season and now sits third in a single season in Crusader history with 666 points on the year.
- The Crusaders hit at a 51% (26-for-51) clip from the field for the game and handed out 15 assists on their 26 baskets.
- Valpo converted seven offensive rebounds into 11 points, while the Panthers did not score a second-chance point on five offensive boards.
- The game featured just 58 possessions - the fewest since the shot clock move to 30 seconds prior to the start of last season. This season’s previous slowest-tempo game for the Crusaders was 62 possessions (at Oregon, home versus NKU).
...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.
- Valpo concludes the regular season at Northern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.
- The Crusaders will open play on Motor City Madness either next Saturday (if the 1 or 2 seed) or Sunday (if the 3 seed).
...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 6-4 in true road action - including a 5-2 mark in league play.
- The Raiders enter Friday’s game at 19-10 overall on the season, including a 10-6 record in Horizon League action.
- WSU most recently fell at Northern Kentucky on Tuesday to snap a four-game winning streak.
- Four Raiders average in double figures, led by 18.8 points per game from Mark Alstork. Justin Mitchell adds 11.3 ppg, 8.4 rpg and 3.8 apg.
A Look at the Standings
- Valpo enters the final weekend of the regular season in first place by one game over Oakland, and with a two-game edge over Green Bay.
- The Golden Grizzlies own the tiebreaker over the Crusaders by virtue of the season sweep.
- A win on Friday night guarantees the Crusaders at least a share of the Horizon League regular season title, which would be their fifth in the last six years.
- A win on Friday, combined with a Green Bay victory over Oakland, would secure the outright title, an automatic berth in the NIT and the one seed for Motor City Madness.
Searching For Another Crown
- Valpo enters the weekend in the driver’s seat for its fifth Horizon League regular season championship in the last six seasons.
- The Crusaders enter the weekend with a 13-3 record in league play, the same record which earned them the 2014-15 and 2012-13 league titles.
- Last year’s team posted the program’s best record within Horizon League play at 16-2, while the 2011-12 squad captured the championship with a 14-4 record.
- Only Xavier (1989-95) and Butler (2006-11) have claimed five Horizon League regular season crowns in a six-year span, Butler doing so five straight years - but both teams shared at least one of their titles.
- If the Crusaders were to earn the regular season title, it would be their 17th regular season championship in program history - 13 of the previous 16 have come since 1995.
Joining the Winningest Teams
- Valpo has already earned 23 victories this season, making it one of the winningest teams in program history.
- Only seven seasons have seen the Crusaders win 24 or more games.
- Valpo won 24 games in 1923-24, 1996-97 and 2000-01, while winning 25 games in the 2001-02 season.
- The three winningest seasons in program history have come in the last five years: 26 wins (2012-13), 28 wins (2014-15) and 30 wins (2015-16).
- Valpo’s win at Detroit Mercy on Sunday 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 seven 20+ point decisions in Horizon League action this season.
- 10 of Valpo’s 13 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 three made free throws last time out versus Milwaukee, Peters now has made 172 free throws this season, second-most in a single season in program history.
- Peters is just five 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 third place last time out against Milwaukee. With 666 points this year, he is just 13 points shy of his output from last season, which ranks second on Valpo’s single-season chart.
- The senior also ranks seventh in a single season in program history in rebounding with 293 rebounds - six boards out of sixth position.
- At his current rates (23.0 ppg/10.1 rpg), Peters would need three 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 114-58 (.663).
- 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 10.1 rebounds/game and has recorded 16 double-doubles.
- Peters has recorded at least eight rebounds in 23 of Valpo’s 29 games.
- Peters ranks ninth nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s offensive rating (>28% possessions used) and is second nationally with 13 Game MVPs.
- As of the end of play Wednesday, Peters was sixth nationally in free throws made, seventh in field goals made, ninth in double-doubles, and 17th in rebounding.
- 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 2,348 career points.
- Peters leads all active players with 2,348 career points and 134 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 23 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.