Drake (18-6, 9-4 MVC)
at Valparaiso (10-14, 4-9 MVC)
Game No. 25 – Saturday, Feb. 4, 6 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Indiana Pacers Power Pack dunk crew will perform at halftime on Saturday night as Missouri Valley Conference preseason favorite Drake comes to town to meet the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team in a Missouri Valley Conference showdown. The Beacons will look to extend their home winning streak to three and bounce back from a heartbreaking overtime loss at Missouri State on Wednesday.
Last Time Out: Valpo led by seven with just over three minutes remaining and held a five-point edge with 1:21 on the clock, but Missouri State rallied to force overtime and eventually dominated the extra session for a 76-67 victory on Wednesday night at Great Southern Bank Arena in Springfield, Mo. The Beacons were led in scoring by Ben Krikke with 19 points.
Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)
Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App –
Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (107-110) is in his seventh season as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2022-2023. Twice during his tenure, Valpo has upset Top-25 opponents, defeating Drake and Rhode Island at the ARC. Valpo has four wins over AP Top 25 teams in program history, and two have come under Lottich. In 2019-2020, Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness, the annual Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, to reach the title game after playing in the opening round by winning three games in three days. Lottich, hired as the 22nd head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program in April 2016, graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and New Trier High School (Illinois) in 2000.
Series Notes: Drake took a slight 9-8 edge in the all-time series by winning 68-63 back on Dec. 29 in Des Moines. The Bulldogs hold a 7-4 lead in Missouri Valley Conference matchups and possess a three-game head-to-head winning streak. Valpo owns a 5-4 lead in home games against the Bulldogs including the memorable 74-57 upset on Feb. 7, 2021, Valpo’s fourth win over an AP Top 25 opponent in program history.
Dec. 29 – Drake 68, Valpo 63 (Des Moines, Iowa): Valpo put together a valiant effort against the preseason favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa, leading Drake 26-24 at halftime and twice rallying from double figures down late to stay in the game until the final horn. The Bulldogs shot 26 percent in the opening half and MVC Preseason Player of the Year Tucker DeVries was limited to five points on 1-of-5 shooting before the break, but DeVries scored 13 after halftime and Darnell Brodie finished with a game-high 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting for the Bulldogs. Ben Krikke led the Beacons with 15 points on 6-of-9 from the floor.
- Valpo owns a home record of 7-4 entering Saturday’s game vs. Drake with three games remaining following the battle with the Bulldogs.
- That means a win on Saturday would allow Valpo to clinch a winning record at home.
- This would secure the team’s 31st consecutive season with a home record of .500 or better.
- The 76-67 loss at Missouri State on Feb. 1 marked the team’s third overtime game of the year and first since Dec. 4.
- After beating James Madison 81-79, Valpo has come up on the wrong end of both Missouri Valley Conference games that have gone beyond 40 minutes – falling 77-70 vs. Murray State on Dec. 4.
- The nine-point margin of defeat was Valpo’s largest in a game that went to overtime since Jan. 2, 2015, an 89-75 setback at Oakland.
- This marked the second time the Beacons and Bears have played overtime since Valpo joined The Valley. Missouri State has captured both OT affairs with the previous one coming 55-54 on Jan. 29, 2019 at the ARC.
- Valpo has played nine overtime games in the last two seasons and owns a 4-5 mark. During the Matt Lottich Era, the team is 8-10 when bonus basketball is needed.
Oh So Close
- On three occasions in Missouri Valley Conference play, Valpo has come extraordinarily close to pulling out a victory before going on to drop the contest. The Beacons are 4-9 in Valley action, but could easily have that record rearranged at 7-6.
- First came a 77-70 overtime loss to Murray State on Dec. 4 where Valpo held a five-point lead with 5:21 left in regulation and a four-point edge with 3:03 left in overtime.
- The next close call was on Jan. 4, when UNI won 69-67 on a tip-in buzzer-beater.
- The Feb. 1 game at Missouri State saw Valpo lead by seven with just over three minutes remaining and by five with 1:21 on the clock before falling in overtime.
- Conversely, all four of Valpo’s wins have come by seven points or more and the Beacons own an average margin of victory of 12.3 points per game in those wins.
- On Feb. 1, Valpo outrebounded Missouri State 37-36 including a 13-10 advantage on the offensive glass, the team’s fourth consecutive game outrebounding the opponent. Valpo was +1 at Illinois State, +4 at UNI and + 10 vs. Evansville.
- The Beacons have held the upper hand on the glass in six of their last seven games. This marks quite the turnaround from early in the season, when Valpo was outrebounded six games in a row from the outset.
- This marks the first time Valpo has won the rebounding battle in four straight games since the 2018-19 season.
Krikke Named MVC Player of the Week
- Ben Krikke was tabbed Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on Jan. 30 after averaging 26.0 points and 8.5 rebounds over two contests while shooting 86.7 percent from the free-throw line (13-of-15) and 61.3 percent from the field (19-of-31).
- Krikke became the first Beacon this season to garner MVC Player of the Week accolades and the second to achieve an MVC weekly award as Quinton Green was Newcomer of the Week the previous week.
- This was Krikke’s second career MVC Player of the Week accolade and the first by any Valpo player since his previous honor, which came during his sophomore season on Jan. 26, 2021.
- After the award, Krikke had his third straight game with 19 points or more on Feb. 1 at Missouri State. That was also his fourth straight game with seven or more rebounds. Over the last three games, Krikke is averaging 23.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
Krikke Goes the Distance
- Ben Krikke subbed out with one second remaining in the first half on Feb. 1 at Missouri State, and that was the only breather he would receive in an overtime affair.
- Krikke’s 45 minutes were the most played by a Beacon since Kevion Taylor’s 47 in a double overtime game vs. Indiana State on Feb. 5 of last season.
- Krikke became the first Valpo player to see the floor in every minute of a game that went beyond regulation since Alec Peters and Shane Hammink both played all 50 minutes of a double overtime game vs. Santa Clara on Dec. 22, 2016.
- Krikke was productive in those 45 minutes, scoring 19 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
Krikke Keeps Climbing
- Ben Krikke moved up another two spots on Valpo’s all-time scoring list in the Feb. 1 game at Missouri State.
- He bumped Jeff Simmons (1978-82; 1,395) from the top 15 and also passed fellow Canadian and current graduate assistant Tevonn Walker (1,405) for 14th.
- Entering Feb. 4 vs. Drake, Krikke has scored 1,410 career points, 14th in program history. He is 20 away from 13th (John Wolfenberg, 1970-73) and 26 away from 12th (Jim Ford, 1985-89).
- Krikke cracked the top 20 on Valpo’s all-time scoring list when he scored the first basket of the game on Dec. 18 vs. Elon, and moved up to 19th on Jan. 4 vs. UNI.
- Ben Krikke has reached double figures in 22 of his 24 games this season including eight outputs of 20 points or more.
- Krikke has scored 15+ points in 19 out of 24 contests.
- Krikke has tallied double figures in 12 consecutive games and all 13 league contests this season.
- Last season, Ben Krikke was one of three players in the Missouri Valley Conference to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and 80 percent or better from the free-throw line, joining Isiaih Mosley of Missouri State and Malevy Leons of Bradley while owning the highest field-goal percentage of that elite group.
- Krikke entered the season with a career field-goal percentage of 53.4, a mark that ranks seventh in program history.
- Krikke had a 12-game double-figure scoring streak that was snapped in the final game of the season, the MVC Tournament quarterfinal vs. Missouri State. He totaled 22 double-figure outputs and seven performances of 20 points or more while pacing the team in scoring on 11 occasions.
- After earning third team honors for the second straight year, Krikke became the first Valpo player to earn All-MVC accolades in two different seasons. The program’s last multi-time all-conference honoree was Alec Peters, who was a first-team all-Horizon League pick in each of his final three seasons, concluding in 2016-17.
- He earned MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team status for the second straight year. He is the only Valpo player who has been part of the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team since the department joined the conference.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Feb. 1: Missouri State 76, Valpo 67
- Ben Krikke (19), Kobe King (14) and Quinton Green (13) all scored in double figures.
- Nick Edwards dished out a team-high five assists.
- Valpo held a 13-10 advantage in offensive rebounding.
- The 3-point shot was a bugaboo once again as Valpo shot 6-of-29 (20.7 percent).
- Missouri State’s Alston Mason had a career game with 27 points and nine assists.
Scouting the Bulldogs
- Own a 15-1 record in home or neutral site games but are just 3-5 in true road contests.
- On a four-game winning streak including a double overtime 88-81 victory over UNI on Wednesday. The streak also features triumphs at Belmont (79-61), vs. Indiana State (70-68) and at Evansville (97-61).
- Hold a 7-1 record in their last eight games with the only loss coming in overtime at Missouri State.
- Led in scoring by Tucker DeVries at 18.6 points per game, while he is joined in double figures by Roman Penn’s 11.3.
- Preseason favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference.
- J. Wilkins (Merrillville) and Roman Penn (Bishop Noll) both attended high school in Northwest Indiana.
- Ben Krikke, Kobe King and Quinton Green have been fixtures in the starting lineup this season as all three have started each of the first 24 games.
- The other two spots rotated some earlier in the season, but Valpo seems to have found a consistent starting five with Maximus Nelson (15 starts) serving as Krikke’s front court mate.
- Nick Edwards (16 total starts) has started 13 straight games at point guard.
- Valpo has featured the same starting five in nine straight games.
Double Figure Streak
- The only player in the Missouri Valley Conference who has scored in double figures in each of his team’s games this season is Kobe King, who has scored 10+ in 24 straight.
- King has entered the list of longest double-figure scoring streaks in recent Valpo memory. Javon Freeman-Liberty scored in double figures in all 29 regular season games that he played during the 2019-20 season before seeing his streak snapped in the first MVC Tournament game. Alec Peters scored in double figures in all 29 games he played in 2016-17 before seeing his season cut short by an injury.
- King has scored in double figures in 43 of his 47 games in a Valpo uniform.
- The former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball has scored 15 points or more in 15 of his 24 games this season. He has seven 20-point outputs this year and has scored 15 or more points in 25 of his 47 games with the Beacons.
- King is up to 48 career double-figure scoring efforts including his tenure at Wisconsin.
- At the end of last season, King became Valpo’s second All-Newcomer Team choice since joining the league and first since Bakari Evelyn in 2017-18.
- He appeared on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays after a three-quarter court buzzer-beater on Dec. 11 vs. Charlotte, a play that ranked No. 9 on the popular countdown that evening.
Krikke in Select Company
- Ben Krikke is one of four players in the country who is averaging at least 18.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting better than 75 percent from the free-throw line and better than 50 percent from the field.
- He joins Chattanooga’s Jake Stephens, Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis, and Kansas State’s Keyontae Johnson.
- Krikke is on pace to become just the third different Missouri Valley Conference player since 2005 to average at least 17 points and five boards while shooting better than 75 percent from the free-throw line and 50 percent from the field. He would join Missouri State’s Isiaih Mosley and Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who did so twice each.
- Krikke is the only player in The Valley averaging 18.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. In fact, the only MVC players in the last 20 years to achieve that feat are Creighton’s Doug McDermott (twice), Valpo’s Javon Freeman-Liberty and Missouri State’s Isiah Mosley).
- Valpo point guard Nick Edwards leads the Missouri Valley Conference and ranks 15th nationally with 122 total assists.
- Edwards is averaging 8.0 points per game and 5.1 assists per game. Just two Valpo players in the last 30 years have finished a season with 8.0 ppg and 5.0 apg – Ali Berdiel (2003-04) and Bryce Drew (three times, 1994-1998).
- If Edwards stays on his current pace, he would post Valpo’s highest apg number since Berdiel’s 6.0 in 2003-2004.
Among Conference & National Leaders
- Valpo has two of the top three players in the MVC in terms of field goals made and two of the top 40 nationally. Ben Krikke leads the conference and ranks seventh in the nation with 175 made field goals, while Kobe King ranks third in the conference and 38th nationally with 151.
- Valpo is one of two teams in the country with two players in the top 40 nationally in terms of field goals made, joining Marshall.
- Krikke and King also represent two of the league’s top six players in terms of scoring average. Krikke’s 18.2 points per game rank fourth in The Valley with King not far behind at 16.6 ppg, sixth.
- Valpo is the only team in the conference with two players who rank in the top 10 in the league in scoring average.
Krikke Folds the Aces
- Ben Krikke boasted one of his biggest games in a Valpo uniform to help the Beacons blitz Evansville 81-69 on Jan. 28. The team’s leading scorer poured in 30 points, his second career game with 30 or more and one shy of a career high.
- Krikke’s personal best of 31 came on Dec. 4 of this season vs. Murray State.
- The senior forward went 10-of-14 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. The 10 made field goals were his most since 12 vs. Murray State on Dec. 3, and the 10 made free throws shattered his previous career high of eight set on Jan. 17 of this season vs. UIC.
- Krikke also squeezed nine rebounds, his third straight game with eight or more caroms and highest rebound total in league play this year.
- Krikke became just the third different Valpo player in the last decade with 30 or more points and nine or more rebounds in a single game, joining Javon Freeman-Liberty (twice) and Alec Peters (seven times). He became the first Valpo player to achieve that stat line since Javon-Freeman Liberty on Nov. 25, 2019 vs. Cincinnati in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Krikke’s 10 made free throws were the most by a Valpo player in a game since Tevonn Walker on Jan. 3, 2018 at Bradley.
- During the game against Evansville, Krikke upped his season point total to 417, eclipsing his career high for points in a season that was previously 411 last season.
- Nick Edwards handed out 10 assists in the Jan. 28 win over Evansville, his third game this season with double-figure assists and the fourth overall by a Beacon this year.
- Edwards became the first Missouri Valley Conference player with three 10-assist games this year, as he previously turned the trick on Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill (12) and Dec. 18 vs. Elon (13).
- In fact, no other MVC player has more than one double-figure assist effort.
- There have been only seven games featuring an MVC individual with 10 or more assists this year, and four of them have been by Valpo – Edwards’ three plus one by Darius DeAveiro.
- As a team, Valpo had a season-high 19 assists in the win over the Purple Aces. This marked the team’s highest assist output since 23 on Dec. 22, 2021 vs. William & Mary and highest total in conference play since also giving out 19 on Feb. 6, 2021 vs. Drake.
Putting Up Points
- Valpo scored 81 points in the Jan. 28 win over Evansville, tying a season-high against a Division-I opponent. The Beacons previously scored 81 vs. Western Michigan and vs. James Madison, the latter of which came in overtime in Savannah, Ga.
- The 81 points were the team’s most in any contest since 96 on Dec. 6 vs. Trinity Christian.
- The 81 marked Valpo’s highest point total in a regulation, regular-season MVC game since Feb. 25, 2020 vs. Missouri State (W 89-74).
- This marked Valpo’s 21st straight win when scoring 80 points or more. Valpo is 39-1 in its last 40 such contests with the lone loss coming on Feb. 13, 2019, an 87-82 OT setback vs. Indiana State.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Jan. 28: Valpo 81, Evansville 69
- Valpo has swept the regular season series with Evansville for the second straight year and the third time since joining the league. Valpo owns a five-game head-to-head winning streak over the Purple Aces.
- Valpo shot 85.7 percent (18-of-21) at the free-throw line, its best showing at the stripe since shooting 87 percent on Nov. 19 vs. Incarnate Word.
- In addition to Ben Krikke (30) and Kobe King (13) tallying double figures, Valpo got a nine-point effort from Connor Barrett that went along with his career-high seven rebounds. His previous personal best on the glass was six on Dec. 6, 2020 vs. Judson.
- Maximus Nelson was a contributor as well, tossing in eight points on 3-of-5 shooting while pulling down a personal-best seven boards. His previous peak on the glass was six on two occasions.
- Valpo survived 3-point shooting struggles as the team shot just 22.7 percent (5-of-22) from long range. This was Valpo’s worst 3-point percentage while still scoring 80+ points since Nov. 12, 2016 vs. Trinity Christina (5-of-27, 18.5 percent, W 89-75) and worst under those conditions against a Division-I opponent since Dec. 20, 2012 (4-of-21, 19 percent vs. IUPUI).
- Kobe King reached a significant career milestone on Jan. 10 vs. Belmont at the Athletics-Recreation Center. At the 13:41 mark of the second half, he made his milestone basket to reach the 1,000-point threshold. He was recognized with a nice ovation at the next timeout.
- Quinton Green surpassed the 1,500-point mark for his career on Jan. 17 vs. UIC. He scored 1,288 of those points during his five years at Cedarville prior to joining Valpo’s program.
- King was recognized prior to the Jan. 17 game against UIC as Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Small and head coach Matt Lottich presented him with a commemorative game ball.
- King registered 386 points over his three seasons at Wisconsin and has done the rest of the damage during his two-year run with the Beacons.
- King became the second Valpo player to score his 1,000th collegiate point this season. Ben Krikke achieved the feat in the Nov. 13 home-opening victory over Western Michigan.
- Three members of Valpo’s starting lineup are 1,000-point scorers as Quinton Green reached the milestone while playing at Division-II Cedarville
- Prior to this year, the last Valpo player to join that esteemed group was current graduate assistant Tevonn Walker exactly five years prior to Krikke’s milestone – Nov. 13, 2017 vs. Trinity Christian.
Scoring & Helping
- Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, there have been seven instances of a Valpo player with 20 or more points and five or more assists in a game, and three of those seven performances have occurred this season.
- Most recently, Ben Krikke turned in 20 points and six assists in the Jan. 4 game vs. UNI. That came after Nick Edwards achieved the feat on both Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill and Dec. 6 vs. Trinity Christian.
- Prior to this year, Javon Freeman-Liberty was the last player with 20+ points and 6+ assists in a game on Dec. 21, 2019 vs. Arkansas, and before that it was LaVonte Dority back on Nov. 29, 2013 vs. Mercer. Ryan Broekhoff (Nov. 11, 2011 vs. Duquesne) and Brandon Wood (Nov. 12, 2010 vs. IU Northwest) also achieved the stat line.
Stat Sheet Stuffing
- In the Dec. 29 game at Drake, Nick Edwards had his third straight game with six or more rebounds, six or more assists and two or more steals.
- He finished the game against the Bulldogs with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and a season-high five steals. He became the first Valpo player with five steals in a game since Connor Barrett on Jan. 9, 2021 vs. Missouri State.
- In the game at Drake, Edwards became the first Valpo player with 10+ points, 5+ steals, 5+ assists and 5+ rebounds in a game since Ryan Broekhoff on Feb. 10, 2011 vs. Detroit Mercy. Edwards became the 22nd player nationally to post such a stat line this season.
- Edwards displayed his holiday spirit the week leading into Christmas by dishing out 13 assists on Dec. 18 vs. Elon and 12 on Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill.
- Edwards became the fourth player nationally with multiple games of 12+ assists this season, joining Yuri Collins of Saint Louis, Tyler Robertson of Portland and Markquis Nowell of Kansas State. His 13-assist game ranked tied for ninth nationally and his 12-assist game ranked tied for 13th at the time it occurred.
- Prior to Dec. 18, the last time a Valpo player had 12 or more assists in a single game was Bryce Drew on Jan. 21, 1995 vs. Eastern Illinois. Edwards then turned the trick in consecutive contests.
- In the game against Stonehill, he posted a double-double with 18 of his 20 points coming after halftime, when he knocked down six of his seven field-goal attempts. That marked Valpo’s second double-double of the season and first since Ben Krikke had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the Nov. 7 season opener at Toledo.
- Edwards became just the 11th player in the nation with a 20-point, 10-assist game this season. He became the first player in the nation to notch 20 or more points and 12 or more assists in a game this year. The last time that happened nationally was Yuri Collins of Saint Louis on Feb. 2, 2022 at George Mason. No Missouri Valley Conference player had achieved that feat in the last decade prior to Edwards.
- Edwards had Valpo’s first 20&10 game since Kobe King on Feb. 5, 2022 vs. Indiana State (24 points, 11 rebounds).
- Edwards posted the first points-assists double-double by a Valpo player since Ron Howard (15 points, 10 assists) on Jan. 24, 2005.
- Edwards also swiped four steals and collected six rebounds in the win over Stonehill. He became just the second player in the nation this season with 20 or more points, 10 or more assists, five or rebounds and four or more steals, joining UConn’s Tristen Newton (Nov. 15 vs. Buffalo).
- He finished just three assists shy of a longstanding program record for dimes in a single game by dishing out 13 in the Dec. 18 victory over Elon.
- He became the first member of the program to give out 13 or more assists in a single game since Todd Smith on Feb. 22, 1986 vs. Eastern Illinois.
- Edwards became just the 10th player in the nation to notch 13 or more assists in a single game in 2022-23.
- Prior to this season, only one Valpo player over the previous decade (Deion Lavender, twice) had accrued 10 or more assists in a game. Now, two different Beacons have done so this year with Edwards joining Darius DeAviero (Nov. 13 vs. Western Michigan).
- This marks the first season where two different Valpo players have had double-figure assist games since 2004-05 (Ron Howard and Seth Colclasure).
- The program record of 16 assists in a game came courtesy of John McIlvain on Jan. 13, 1983 at UIC.
- The 13 assists nearly doubled Edwards’ previous season best of seven that came on Dec. 6 vs. Trinity Christian.
Lottich Leaps J.M. Christiansen
- Valpo head coach Matt Lottich moved into sole possession of third in program history when he garnered his 103rd career victory on Dec. 21 vs. Stonehill. That triumph helped him snap a tie with J.M. Christiansen (1929-1941) for third all-time.
- Lottich reached the 100-win milestone with an 81-79 overtime victory over James Madison on Nov. 27 in Savannah, Ga.
- The former Stanford sharpshooter became just the fourth head coach in program history to get to 100 wins, joining Homer Drew, Bryce Drew and J.M. Christiansen.
- Lottich is now trailing only the Drews on the program’s all-time wins list.
Name Years Wins
Homer Drew 1988-2002; 2003-2011 371
Bryce Drew 2011-2016 124
Matt Lottich 2017-pres. 107
J.M. Christiansen 1929-1941 102
In the Nick of Time
- Fifth-year senior Nick Edwards became the latest entry on the list of Valpo basketball players who have hit game-winning shots in the final five seconds of regulation or overtime when he drove to the basket and scored in the closing ticks of OT to lift Valpo past James Madison 81-79 on Sunday in Savannah, Ga.
- This was Valpo’s first game-winning shot since March 6, 2020, Eron Gordon’s memorable basket to beat Loyola at the MVC Tournament in St. Louis.
- The bucket by Edwards marked Valpo’s 26th last-second shot in the final five seconds since the start of the 1992-93 season.
- There have been four total last-second shots during the Lottich Era, with Javon Freeman-Liberty vs. Toledo to open the 2019-20 season and Markus Golder’s 50-footer at the buzzer to beat Illinois State on Jan. 2, 2019 joining the aforementioned baskets by Edwards and Gordon.
A Quality Victory
- James Madison entered the game against Valpo at No. 78 in the KenPom rankings and had a 6-1 record with the lone loss coming 80-64 at the nation’s No. 1 team, North Carolina.
- The Dukes were a top-50 NET team in the first release of NET rankings and represented a Quad 1 win for Valpo.
- The Dukes entered the game leading the nation in scoring margin by outscoring the opposition by an average of 34.7 points per game.
- James Madison entered the contest third in the nation in scoring offense at 94.9 points per game, but the Beacons kept the Dukes to just 79 points despite playing an extra five minutes.
- James Madison had downed South Dakota State 79-60 after Valpo fell to the defending Summit League champion Jackrabbits by a 61-50 score as part of the multi-team event.
Top Two Scorers Back
- With both Ben Krikke (14.2 ppg) and Kobe King (14.0 ppg) back, Valpo returns its top two scorers from last season.
- The last time the program had its top two scorers back from the previous year was 2015-2016, when Alec Peters and Darien Walker both returned after finishing as the team’s top two scorers in 2014-15. The 2015-16 season was a historic one, as the Brown & Gold reached the NIT championship game.
- Only four of the 12 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference have their top two scorers back from last season, as Valpo joins Drake, Southern Illinois and Indiana State.
Looking Back at 2021-2022
- The team boasted two MVC Scholar-Athlete team selections, the captain of the All-Bench Team, an MVC Most-Improved Team honoree, an All-MVC Third Team performer, an All-Newcomer team member and an All-Freshman team honoree. Valpo had seven different MVC postseason honors won by five different players.
- Valpo went a combined 5-0 against instate foes Indiana State and Evansville, sweeping the Hoosier State for the first time since joining the MVC.
- Valpo finished with a home record of .500 or better for the 30th consecutive season.
- Eight of Valpo’s 18 MVC games were decided by three points or fewer or required overtime.
- The Beacons overcame double-figure deficits to win on three occasions (Tulane, Eastern Michigan and Evansville), something that has occurred 19 times during the Matt Lottich Era.
- The team finished fourth in the MVC in both free-throw percentage (.759) and field-goal percentage (.459) while also finishing fourth in assists per game (12.5), steals per game (6.4) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.1).
- Valpo played six overtime games, the program’s most since tying a Division-I record with eight in 1993.
- Ben Krikke was tabbed to the Preseason All-MVC First Team, becoming the first player to earn that honor in Valpo’s time in the conference.
- Prior to this season, Valpo had five preseason all-conference selections since joining The Valley in 2017-18, all second team honorees.
- Kobe King was named to the Preseason All-MVC Third Team, making this the second time in the team’s six years in The Valley that Valpo has boasted a pair of preseason all-league choices.
- Krikke, also a Preseason All-MVC Second Team choice last year, became the first Valpo player to earn Preseason All-MVC honors on multiple occasions.
- Valpo was picked to finish ninth of 12 in the preseason poll, ahead of Illinois State, UIC and Evansville.
- Drake hauled in 52 of the 54 first-place votes and finished a heavy preseason favorite, while Drake’s Tucker DeVries was named MVC Preseason Player of the Year.
- In addition to the conference’s honor, Krikke was named to the Preseason All-MVC First Team by Blue Ribbon Magazine
- The 2022-23 roster features eight returning letter winners, one returning player who redshirted last season and six newcomers (three freshmen, three transfers).
- Five Valpo players hail from outside of the United States – two from The Netherlands, two from Canada and one from Denmark.
- Four members of the roster are natives of the state of Wisconsin, while two call Illinois home and one has remained in his home state of Indiana. The remaining players come from Georgia, Minnesota and Ohio.
- Nick Edwards is the first Georgia native to play for the program since E. Victor Nickerson in 2015-16.
- Nick Edwards had a triple-double while playing at Glenville last season, one of eight Division-II players in the nation to achieve that feat.
- Quinton Green earned All-Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) honors for three straight seasons. He finished with 1,288 points over four seasons at Cedarville and knocked down a team-high 59 3-point field goals last year.
- Ibra Bayu spent three years in the United States playing high school basketball before arriving at Valpo. He dealt with a serious medical issue during his junior season before being sidelined by two separate fractured ankles as a senior.
- Jerome Palm comes to Valpo after two junior college seasons at Hillsborough CC and Daytona State. He competed for the championship-winning Netherlands national team in the 2021 3x3 national tournament.
- Maximus Nelson was a unanimous first team all-conference and first-team all-state selection after his senior season at Appleton North High School in Appleton, Wis.
Random off-the-court facts on each Valpo player.
- #1 Cam Palesse – Enjoys building fish-tank ecosystems.
- #2 Preston Ruedinger – Is an avid golfer in his spare time... Has an interest in coaching in the future.
- #3 Connor Barrett – Is also an avid golfer.
- #4 Darius DeAveiro – Father David is the former head coach at McGill University in Montreal and is now the head coach of the Ryerson Rams... Played on the state soccer team at age 13 and traveled significantly for the sport, including a trip to England.
- #5 Nick Edwards – Describes himself as a “wing fanatic” with his preference being either honey barbeque or lemon pepper... Cousin is Champ Bailey, who was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection during his NFL career that spanned from 1999-2014.
- #11 Emil Freese-Vilien – Civil engineering major who spends a lot of time drawing blueprints and houses... His first basketball practice came at age 14... Played serious badminton growing up... Is teaching himself how to cook.
- #12 Ibra Bayu – Played soccer during his youth but was advised to try basketball at age 10 during a gym class... Describes himself as a very social person who enjoys talking, making jokes and laughing.
- #13 Maximus Nelson – Enjoys working kids camp and teaching young children how to play the sport of basketball.
- #14 Quinton Green – Married his wife Liana English on Aug. 20, 2022. They met at Cedarville, where she was a member of the women's tennis team... Has four younger brothers and sisters... His roommate for five years at Cedarville was Conner TenHove, a Valparaiso, Ind. native... Scored 23 points and pulled down seven rebounds against Valpo in an exhibition game on Oct. 19, 2019 while playing for Cedarville...
- #15 Luke Morrill – Walk-on who enjoys wakesurfing.
- #20 Joe Vick – Walk-on who is the son of Julie Vick, the administrative assistant for Valpo Basketball.
- #23 Ben Krikke – Spent over 100 days in quarantine before and during the 2020-2021 season... Enjoys mountain biking and chess, which he learned from his grandfather... Credits his father’s Michael Jordon DVD set for helping hone his skills.
- #32 Joe Hedstrom – Is an avid fisherman and Valpo’s proximity to Lake Michigan added to his desire to play at Valpo... Grandfather Burt Hedstrom played basketball, football and baseball at Northwestern University (1944-47) and both of his parents played college basketball, mother Sharon (Bethel) and father Peter (St. Olaf).
- #33 Jerome Palm – Enjoys cutting hair for fun as a makeshift barber as he cuts hair for friends and family members in addition to his own.
- #35 Kobe King –Enjoys making music and writing song lyrics.
- Associate head coach Luke Gore is in his 21st year on staff and has served under four different head coaches. The Valpo veteran has helped the team to eight postseason berths in the last 12 years and was on staff for the three winningest seasons in program history. He serves as the team’s defensive coordinator in addition to leading Valpo’s scheduling and scouting efforts.
- Assistant coach Matt Bowen returned to Valpo’s staff in 2018-19 after previously spending four seasons with the Brown & Gold from 2002-2006. He was the head coach at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 2012-2018. Bowen coordinates the team’s offense.
- Assistant coach Rob Holloway is back for his fifth season after spending the previous two years on staff at Eastern Illinois, his alma mater.
- Director of Basketball Operations Peter Funk is in his second season in that role after spending the previous two years as a graduate assistant and the three years prior to that as a student manager.
- Vijay Blackmon joined the Valpo staff this summer, leading the program’s strength & conditioning efforts. He arrived at Valpo after serving as the head strength & conditioning coach at Bella Vista College Prep School in Phoenix, Ariz. from October 2021 to April 2022. During that time, he also served as a strength coach intern for the Grand Canyon men’s basketball program, which is under the direction of Valpo legend Bryce Drew.
- Former Valpo basketball standout Tevonn Walker has rejoined the program as a graduate assistant. He scored 1,405 career points with the Brown & Gold, a total that ranks 14th in program history. He went on to play professionally in Germany and Canada.
- After starting his career at Michigan State, Thomas Kithier was a key player for the Beacons last season. Due to a career-ending back injury, he has transitioned into a graduate assistant role.
- Sam Back is in his fifth season as a student manager and third as head manager. The North Judson, Ind. native was named to Grow the Game’s Manager All-American Team following the 2021-2022 campaign.
- Valpo signed a trio of incoming student-athletes during the early signing period in November.
- 6-foot-9 forward Zane Dougherty (Avon, Ind. / Ben Davis), 6-foot-1 point guard Jahari Williamson (Pickering, Ontario, Canada / Royal Crown Academy) and 6-foot-6 combo guard Yanis Bamba (Laval, Quebec, Canada / Jean-de-Brebeuf) are poised to join the Valpo program for the 2023-2024 season.
- Lottich on Bamba: “Yanis is a little bit of a late bloomer,” Lottich said. “He’s from a very similar area to where Max (Joseph) and Tevonn (Walker) are from. He’s a native French speaker. He’s a big-body guard, about 6-6, 200. He’s very athletic and a very good passer. He was excited about the opportunity to come to Valpo, where he’s seen the improvement that players make here. I think he will come in and be able to compete right away because of his athleticism, size and physicality. He’s just scratching the surface of who he is as a basketball player.”
- Lottich on Williamson: “We saw Jahari in Milwaukee for the first time,” Lottich said. “The Canadian pipeline that we’ve had has been really good to us. He’s cerebral, and he shoots it really well. Recruiting internationally can be tougher because you don’t get your eyes on the players as much, but we were able to see Jahari play in some Canadian games where he was in high-level environments. This was similar to how we recruited Ben Krikke. Right now, Jahari is one of the five best players in Canada. His ability to stretch the defense and play with pick-and-rolls with the ball in his hands is going to be big for us.”
- Lottich on Doughty: “We saw him at a high school showcase, and what we really liked was his motor as a big man,” Lottich said. “There’s one thing that we don’t want to have to coach, and that’s effort. When you recruit big men, they are typically coming into their own and then have vast improvements when they get to college. In Zane’s case, one thing that really stood out to us was just how tenacious he was on both ends of the floor. He was rebounding out of his area and loves contact. We followed him throughout the summer and got to watch him play in a few high-level games. We love his toughness, and he really fits Valpo. He saw the family atmosphere at Valpo, and that resonated with him. His family is really important to him.”
Tradition of Excellence
- Valpo has 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and four NIT berths in the program’s proud history, with the team’s postseason success highlighted by a Sweet Sixteen run in 1998.
- The program has produced nine All-Americans, won 18 regular season conference championships and 10 conference tournament crowns.
- Valpo also boasts eight NBA players, 10 conference players of the year and 20 20-win seasons.
- Nine of the team’s NCAA appearances have come since 1996.
- Valpo has qualified for the postseason eight times in the last 12 years, including 2019-20 where Valpo accepted a postseason berth but the tournament was not played due to COVID-19.
- Valpo has developed a myriad of professional basketball players over the last quarter century, most notably a pair of recent NBA players. Ryan Broekhoff (class of 2013) signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2018 after spending five seasons playing internationally in Russia and Turkey. Alec Peters (class of 2017) was the 54th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Peters appeared in 20 games for the Suns in 2017-18, highlighted by a 36-point performance in the season finale against Dallas – a new single-game high by a Valpo alum in the NBA. He has gone on to a successful career overseas with CSKA Moscow (2018-2019), Anadolu Efes (2019-2020) and Kirolbet Baskonia (2020-2022) and Olympiacos (2022-present).
- Valpo has produced over 50 professional players in the last three decades.