First-Round Bye at Stake as Valpo Hosts Indiana State
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
First-Round Bye at Stake as Valpo Hosts Indiana State

Indiana State (13-8, 10-6 MVC)
at Valparaiso (9-16, 6-10 MVC)

Game No. 26 – Friday, Feb. 26, 6 p.m.
Game No. 27 – Saturday, Feb. 27, 5 p.m.
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will welcome Indiana State to the Athletics-Recreation Center on Friday and Saturday for a pair of games to close out the 2020-21 regular season. All told, Valpo will have played its last 16 Missouri Valley Conference games in a 39-day span after six of the team’s first eight MVC games were postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. There’s a lot at stake entering the two games this weekend as Valpo plays for seeding with hopes of finishing in the top six and earning a first-round bye at next week’s State Farm MVC Tournament in St. Louis.

Last Time Out: Valpo split a pair of close games this past weekend, getting enough defensive stops late in the game to hold on for a 66-65 victory at Southern Illinois on Sunday before succumbing to the Salukis 67-64 in Monday’s series finale in Carbondale. Freshman Jacob Ognacevic and sophomore D5.0onovan Clay led the way on Sunday with 15 points apiece, while sophomore Ben Krikke scored 13 of his team-high 15 in the first eight minutes of the game on Monday.

Following Valpo Basketball: Television/Streaming (Friday) – The Valley on ESPN Exclusive (ESPN3) – Mitch Holthus (play-by-play) and Danan Hughes (analyst)

Television/Streaming (Saturday) – ESPN3 – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Brian Jennings (analyst)

Radio – Valpo Sports Network (WVUR 95.1 FM, TuneIn Radio App) – Todd Ickow (play-by-play, Friday), Garrett Willis (analyst, Friday) and Zach Collins (play-by-play, Saturday)

Twitter updates - @ValpoBasketball

Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at

Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (82-76) is in his eighth season overall at Valpo and fifth as head coach in 2020-21. Just two years removed from finishing in last place and being knocked out in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a first-year Valley member, Lottich’s team did more than hold its own in 2019-2020, ascending into a tie for sixth in the league standings before finishing as the conference tournament runner-up. Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness to reach the title game after playing in the opening round. 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.

Down to the Wire

  • Valpo has played in three straight games decided by one possession, incurring a two-point loss at No. 22 Loyola on Wednesday before prevailing by the slimmest of margins on Sunday at Southern Illinois and falling by three in Monday’s rematch with the Salukis.
  • This marks the first time in nearly a decade that Valpo has played three consecutive one-possession games. The last time the team had three straight games decided by three points or fewer was from Dec. 29, 2011 to Jan. 6, 2012, Horizon League battles with Milwaukee, Green Bay and Detroit.
  • Sunday’s one-point win in Carbondale marked the team’s first game decided by a single point since the memorable victory over Loyola in last year’s MVC quarterfinals.

Senior Insights

  • Zion Morgan has scored eight points or more in three of his last five games after not reaching the eight-point threshold in any of his 35 prior appearances in a Valpo uniform. Morgan, who has squeezed five or more rebounds in each of the last three games, is in his second season with the Brown & Gold after transferring from Wabash Valley College (JUCO). He started his collegiate career in 2016-17 at UNLV.
  • The younger brother of Houston Rockets veteran Eric Gordon and the youngest of three basketball-playing brothers, Eron Gordon is in his third year in Valpo’s program (second eligible after sitting out the 2018-19 campaign as a transfer from Seton Hall). He is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game (5.7 in MVC play) at a guard position after averaging 2.3 per game (2.6 in MVC play) last season. Gordon has led the team in rebounding 10 times in 2020-21 after not doing so at all last season.
  • The lone four-year member of the program and a native of nearby Merrillville, Ind., Mileek McMillan has played in 118 games and made 63 starts in his career. He has made at least one start in all four seasons on campus and entering this weekend owns 565 career points and 238 rebounds. McMillan is just outside the program’s all-time Top 10 for career games played as Jason Jenkins is 10th at 126.

Sustained Home Success

  • Valpo needs to win at least one game this weekend to assure a home record of .500 or better in 2020-21. The squad is 5-5 at home this season entering these games.
  • The Athletics-Recreation Center has provided a distinct homecourt advantage over the years as Valpo has not finished with a losing mark at the ARC since 1991-92.
  • One win over Indiana State this weekend would allow Valpo to finish .500 or better at home for the 29th consecutive season.
  • Valpo has enjoyed double-figure home win totals in nine of the last 10 seasons prior to this unusual, pandemic-altered year. Due to health and safety regulations, fans were unable to pack the ARC as they have in years past.

Valpo in Home Finales

  • Entering Saturday evening, Valpo owns a 25-4 record over the last 29 years in the final home game of the season.
  • Valpo topped Missouri State 89-74 in the final home contest for seniors Ryan Fazekas and John Kiser a year ago, the team’s first Senior Night triumph since joining The Valley.
  • This will mark the second straight season Valpo has closed the year against the Sycamores as the two teams faced off in Terre Haute to round out the 2019-20 regular season, a 71-58 defeat for the visitors.
  • Valpo has dropped each of its last two regular-season finales and holds a 1-3 mark in such games over the last four years. The team did top Drake to close out the 2017-18 campaign, its first year in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Bench Benchmarks  

  • Valpo has outscored the opponent in bench points in each of the last five games despite moving to primarily an eight-man rotation for three of those contests.
  • Zion Morgan has pulled down five or more rebounds in three straight outings after having more than two rebounds just once in his first nine games of the year. Morgan has also scored eight or more points in three of his last five including a career-high 15 in a near upset at No. 22/23 Loyola on Feb. 17.
  • Jacob Ognacevic has played more than 20 minutes in each of his last two games after not reaching that threshold in any of the previous games against Division-I competition this season. He has scored eight points or more in six of his last eight including a 7-of-10 performance with a D-I career high of 15 points on Feb. 21 at Southern Illinois. Ognacevic has made at least one 3 in seven of his last eight games and has 12 total triples during that span after he did not get off any attempts from beyond the arc in the previous five games.
  • Goodnews Kpegeol has scored seven points or more in four of his last five games including eight points in just 13 minutes before fouling out on Monday, Feb. 22 at Southern Illinois. He went 4-of-6 shooting in the aforementioned second game against the Salukis after an efficient 5-of-7 showing on Feb. 17 at Loyola.
  • Sigurd Lorange saw his first action since Dec. 17 late in the game on Feb. 22 at Southern Illinois after battling a hand injury over the last two months. He scored five late points in three minutes against the Salukis.
  • Valpo’s three bench players (28) outscored its five starters (24) in the near upsets of No. 22/23 Loyola on Feb. 17.

Going Big

  • Valpo has used a larger lineup over the last three games, featuring Sheldon Edwards (6-foot-4), Eron Gordon (6-3), Donovan Clay (6-7), Ben Krikke (6-9) and Mileek McMillan (6-8) with Jacob Ogancevic (6-8) seeing significant run off the bench.
  • The new-look lineup was created in part out of necessity due to starters Daniel Sackey and Connor Barrett both being sidelined with injuries.
  • Donovan Clay had started 53 straight games before coming off the bench for the two games at UNI on Feb. 13-14, but has since returned to the starting five.
  • Sackey had started every game this season before missing the Feb. 17 game at Loyola due to an injury.
  • Ben Krikke is the only Valpo player remaining who has started every game this year.

The Valley Transition

  • With two games remaining in Year 4 in the Missouri Valley Conference, Valpo has already surpassed Loyola’s conference win total over its first four seasons in the league. Valpo garnered its 28th MVC victory on Feb. 21 at Southern Illinois.
  • The Ramblers went 27-45 over their first four seasons before going 54-16 in the four years since.
  • Valpo has two games remaining vs. Indiana State to add to its four-year transitional period win total after elevating to the prestigious and competitive conference.

Home Again at Last

  • Valpo is back home for the first time since Feb. 10 after a stretch of five straight road games, the program’s longest such stretch since Dec. 7-28, 2017, when the team played six straight away dates, visiting Purdue, Ball State, Northwestern, Santa Clara, UC Riverside and Indiana State.
  • This marked the program’s longest stretch of consecutive road games in conference play since joining a Division-I conference for the first time in 1982.

Staying Busy

  • This weekend’s games against Indiana State will close out a stretch of 16 Missouri Valley Conference games in a 39-day span as Valpo was among the conference’s busiest teams after early-season postponements.
  • By comparison, Valpo played three games over the previous 31 days before beginning this stretch of seemingly nonstop competition.
  • Six of Valpo’s first eight Missouri Valley Conference games were postponed due to COVID-19, causing the backlog of makeup games during this busy stretch.
  • Valpo didn’t practice from Dec. 20-Jan. 4 leading into the start of the conference season. The team also had a two-week pause shortly before the start of the nonconference slate in November.
  • Three nonconference games were cancelled and two were added during a challenging season for schedule-makers.
  • In all, Valpo has had nine games either cancelled or postponed. In addition, two Missouri Valley Conference series (at Evansville, at UNI) were pushed back one day from the original dates to make room for makeup games.

A Lot on the Line

  • Valpo enters the final two games of the regular season hoping to secure a first-round bye in next week’s State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis. Earning a bye and avoiding Thursday at the tournament would mark a significant step forward for the program, which has played on the tournament’s opening day in each of its first three Missouri Valley Conference seasons.
  • Valpo (6-10) is currently tied for fifth in the conference standings with Evansville (6-10), while Southern Illinois (5-11), Bradley (5-11) and UNI (5-11) are hot on their heels. The top six teams dodge the first round at Arch Madness.
  • Valpo controls its own destiny, as the team will be guaranteed a first-round bye with two victories this weekend. The program could very well earn a bye by splitting with the Sycamores, pending the outcomes of the remaining Valley contests.
  • Valpo fans will be cheering for Loyola (at Southern Illinois), Illinois State (vs. UNI), Missouri State (at Evansville) and Drake (at Bradley) this weekend. The Brown & Gold could wrap up a first-round bye as early as Friday if all of the results tilt in their favor.
  • Valpo made history last season by becoming the first team in the 30-year history of Arch Madness to play in the opening round and reach the championship game. Ultimately, playing the extra game came back to haunt the Brown & Gold, who tired out in the second half of the title game after owning a halftime lead over Bradley. For that reason, these final two games are crucial while battling for the first-round bye.

Approaching 1,400 Victories

  • Entering this weekend vs. Indiana State, Valpo is one win away from an all-time milestone.
  • The program is one victory shy of 1,400 all-time.
  • Valpo boasts an all-time mark of 1399-1254.

Notes Wrapping Up Feb. 22 (Southern Illinois 67, Valpo 64)

  • Ben Krikke did the bulk of his damage early on his way to a team-high 15 points, his fifth straight game with nine points or more and his fourth double-figure output in the last five games.
  • Jacob Ognacevic and Sheldon Edwards finished with nine points apiece, while Goodnews Kpegeol had eight on 4-of-6 shooting in just 13 minutes before fouling out. Edwards and Ognacevic both produced eight points or more for the sixth time in their last eight games.
  • Eron Gordon dished out a team-high five assists, while Donovan Clay and Zion Morgan had five rebounds apiece to pace the team. Gordon’s assist total matched his career watermark established on Jan. 21 at Illinois State.
  • Sigurd Lorange saw his first action since Dec. 17 vs. Purdue Northwest after battling an injury and scored five late points in three minutes of run.
  • After only one of Valpo’s first 22 games this season was decided by three points or fewer, the Brown & Gold have now played three straight games that featured a one-possession margin.

Notes Wrapping Up Feb. 21 (Valpo 66, Southern Illinois 65)

  • Jacob Ognacevic and Donovan Clay shared team-high honors with 15 points apiece, leading a collection of six Valpo players who scored eight points or more in a balanced effort.
  • Clay led the squad in scoring for the team-most eighth time this year, while Ognacevic has now topped the team on four occasions. Clay finished in double figures for the 12th time this season and the 31st time in his career, while Ogancevic has scored 10 points or more in eight instances during his first collegiate campaign.
  • Ognacevic’s points marked the highest output against a Division-I opponent during his collegiate career, second only to his career high of 20 vs. Judson on Dec. 6. He played 22 minutes, his season high vs. a D-I foe and just his second time playing over 20 minutes all season. The freshman equaled a career best with seven made field goals as his 15 points came on an efficient 7-of-10 shooting.
  • Clay made plays on both ends of the court, swiping two steals, blocking a shot, securing a team-high six rebounds and handing out four assists against no turnovers. Zion Morgan shared the team lead on the glass with six rebounds, his second straight game with five or more.
  • Ben Krikke and Eron Gordon had nine points apiece, while Edwards and Morgan contributed eight each.
  • Valpo won the rebounding battle for the second straight game, enjoying a 32-27 advantage on the glass. Valpo pulled down 12 offensive rebounds and held a 15-3 edge in second-chance points. The dozen offensive rebounds marked the team’s most over its last nine games.
  • Valpo improved to 5-1 when winning the rebounding battle. The squad’s only defeat when owning the edge on the boards was the narrow loss at No. 22 Loyola on Wednesday.
  • The Brown & Gold committed just six turnovers, the team’s second-lowest total of the season behind five in the close loss vs. No. 25 Drake on Feb. 6.
  • The Salukis made eight 3s in the opening half, but Valpo held them to just 1-of-7 from long range over the final 20 minutes.
  • This marked Valpo’s fourth road win in conference play this season, its highest win total in league road games since joining The Valley.
  • The 66 points were Valpo’s fewest in a victory this season.
  • Valpo improved to 2-10 this year when trailing at halftime, erasing a halftime deficit for the first time since Jan. 28 vs. Bradley.

Series Notes: Indiana State

  • The Sycamores are one of Valpo’s most frequent all-time opponents as these two teams have matched up 88 times. Last year’s regular-season finale allowed Indiana State to pass Saint Joseph’s Indiana (87) for third on Valpo’s list of most frequent opponents. Evansville (92) and Butler (103) are the only teams Valpo has played more than Indiana State.
  • Indiana State owns a 54-34 lead in the all-time set including a 24-19 edge in the 219 area code.
  • The two teams split last year’s matchups with both squads prevailing at home.

Inside the Sycamores

  • Led by MVC Preseason First Team honoree Tyreke Key, who averaged a team-high 15.6 points per game last season. Jake LaRavia was named to the MVC all-freshman and all-newcomer teams last season and was named to the MVC Preseason Second Team this year.
  • Key is averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game this season, followed by LaRavia at 12.0 ppg. Tre Williams is the team’s top rebounder at 6.2 rpg.
  • 9-1 in their last 10 games with a three-point loss at UNI the only setback in that span.
  • Picked to finish fourth in the MVC Preseason Poll.
  • Under the direction of longtime head coach Greg Lansing.

Rising to the Occasion

  • Three of Valpo’s best performances all season have come against Top 25 competition, with the Brown & Gold earning the fourth nationally-ranked win in program history on Feb. 7 by blitzing No. 25 Drake 74-57, a win that was sandwiched around one-possession setbacks to Top 25 teams.
  • Valpo narrowly missed its first Top 25 road win in program history on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Loyola, falling 54-52. The two-point margin of defeat was the closest Valpo has ever come to winning a true road game against an AP Top 25 foe in 42 opportunities. The previous closest call was Dec. 30, 2001, a 74-70 loss at No. 14 Arizona.
  • Counting a Dec. 4 game against a Purdue team that went on to earn a Top 25 ranking later in the season, Valpo has played five games against teams that have been ranked at some point this year during the 2020-21 campaign. Valpo has led at halftime in four of the five contests (with the lone exception being the first game vs. Loyola).
  • Valpo was 2-65 against AP Top 25 teams prior to Matt Lottich’s promotion to head coach and owns a 2-5 record since, a mark that easily could be 4-3 with two losses to ranked teams by three points or fewer this season.
  • To make the performance even more impressive, Valpo pushed Loyola to the brink despite playing without two usual starters as Connor Barrett and Daniel Sackey were both sidelined by injuries.

Lock-Down Defense

  • Valpo held Loyola to just 54 points on Feb. 17, the fewest points Valpo has permitted in a road game since holding Illinois State to 53 on Feb. 5, 2019.
  • Valpo has limited a Division-I opponent to 57 points or fewer three times this season, and all of them have come in the last five games.
  • The 54 points allowed were the fewest Valpo has ever permitted in a game against a nationally-ranked opponent.
  • Valpo has held the opponent below 40 percent shooting in three of its last five games.

Other Notes Wrapping Up Feb. 17 (#22/23 Loyola 54, Valpo 52)

  • Loyola narrowly extended its home winning streak to 20 games and hasn’t lost a Missouri Valley Conference home game in exactly two years (since Feb. 17, 2019) after escaping with a win over Valpo.
  • The 54 points was Loyola’s second-lowest total this season and lowest in a home game.
  • Valpo held a team that was averaging 75 points per game and hitting at a 58.6 percent clip over its previous three home games to a 38.5 percent shooting mark in its own gym on Feb. 17 at Loyola.
  • Valpo won the rebounding battle 30-29, owning an edge on the glass for the first time in the last nine contests. Donovan Clay topped the team with seven boards.
  • This matchup was 34 points closer than the first meeting between the two teams, when Loyola prevailed 75-39 on Jan. 20 in Valpo.
  • In addition to the aforementioned performances of Morgan and Kpegeol, Ben Krikke was in double figures for the fifth time in the last six games and eighth time in the last 10. The sophomore forward finished with 10 points, reaching the 500-point benchmark in the process by elevating his career total to 502.
  • Three of the last four Valpo-Loyola matchups have been decided by three points or fewer.

A Win That Ranks Up There

  • Valpo earned its fourth victory in program history over an Associated Press Top 25 team on Sunday, Feb. 7, upsetting previously undefeated No. 25 Drake 74-57. Two of the four victories against nationally-ranked opponents have come under head coach Matt Lottich’s watch as his team knocked off No. 21/25 Rhode Island 65-62 in 2016-17, Lottich’s first season at the helm.
  • Prior to Lottich assuming head coaching duties, Valpo was just 2-65 all-time against ranked teams (1998 NCAA Tournament "The Shot" vs. Ole Miss; 1988 "Lutheran Miracle" vs. Notre Dame).
  • Of the 22 head coaches in Valpo Basketball history, only Matt Lottich and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Homer Drew have coached the team to wins over nationally-ranked opponents. Lottich and Drew have two Top 25 wins apiece, with Lottich’s coming in his first five seasons while Drew finished with two during his 22-year run.
  • Valpo has won two of its last three home games against Top 25 teams with the loss coming by just three points to Drake in the Saturday, Feb. 6 matchup.

Valpo Basketball, All-Time AP Top 25 Victories

Opponent                               Date                Score

  1. #25 Drake 2-7-21 W 74-57
  2. #21 Rhode Island 11-29-16 W 65-62
  3. #13 Ole Miss* 3-13-98 W 70-69
  4. #19 Notre Dame 12-17-88 W 71-68 (OT)

*NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Never A Doubt

  • Not only did Valpo upstage a quality and experienced No. 25 Drake team on Sunday, Feb. 7, but it did so in lopsided fashion. The 17-point margin of victory matched Valpo’s largest in a regular-season Missouri Valley Conference game since joining the league.
  • Valpo owns two other 17-point wins in MVC play, February 2020 vs. Southern Illinois and January 2018 vs. Drake. In addition, the team had a 22-point win over Indiana State in conference tournament action.
  • The 17-point cushion was the program’s largest over a nationally-ranked foe by a wide margin as the previous three wins were all decided by three points or fewer.
  • Lock-down defense paved the way to the rout as Valpo held a team that entered the day averaging 82.8 points per game to a season-low 57, 11 points below the Bulldogs’ previous season floor.

#SCTop10 Again

  • Sheldon Edwards’ dunk from the Sunday, Feb. 7 victory over No. 25 Drake checked in at No. 7 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays late that night.
  • This marks the third time in the last two years Valpo basketball has produced an #SCTop10 play. Since joining the Missouri Valley Conference, Valpo Athletics have been featured on the popular daily countdown on eight occasions spanning five sports – men’s basketball (four times), women's basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball.
  • The poster slam also landed on’s college basketball homepage on Sunday.

Unbeaten No More

  • Valpo faced a team with a perfect record of 18-0 or better for the first time in at least 20 years when Drake arrived at the ARC for the Sunday, Feb. 7 game. Valpo’s most recent game against a team with an undefeated record this late in the season prior to this past weekend is believed to be a 1979-80 matchup with DePaul when the Blue Demons entered at 20-0.
  • Previously, the team with the best record that Valpo had faced over the last two decades was 12-0 North Carolina on Dec. 20, 2008 at the United Center.
  • Entering Feb. 7, Valpo was 2-10 against undefeated teams that had played five or more games since the start of the 1999-2000 season. In addition, Valpo garnered its first win over a team with an unblemished mark of 7-0 or better in that span as Valpo was 0-8 against those opponents before the win over the Bulldogs.
  • Drake was one of three remaining undefeated teams in the nation at the time of Valpo’s victory. Coincidentally, both remaining teams with undefeated records feature Valpo connections, as Baylor is under the direction of former Valpo head coach Scott Drew and former Valpo assistant coach Roger Powell serves on Gonzaga’s staff.

Youth vs. Experience

  • The Valpo/Drake matchup pitted one of the nation’s oldest teams against a Valpo team that depends heavily on freshmen and sophomores.
  • Drake boasts an average age of 21.5 years old and has a starting five with an average age of 23.3. That starting lineup is older than the starting five of three teams in the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls who have an average starters’ age of 21.6.
  • Conversely, Valpo started two freshmen and two sophomores in both games this weekend. On Saturday, freshmen and sophomores combined for 56 of Valpo’s 77 points (72.7 percent), while on Sunday underclassmen accounted for 46 out of 74 points (62.2 percent).
  • Drake received only 15 of its 80 points (18.8 percent) from freshmen and sophomores on Saturday before underclassmen made up just nine of their 48 points (18.8 percent) on Sunday.
  • Valpo outscored Drake 102-24 in points by freshmen and sophomores over the two games.

A Look Back at 2019-20: Just two years removed from finishing in last place and being knocked out in the first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as a first-year Valley member, head coach Matt Lottich’s team did more than hold its own, ascending into a tie for sixth in the league standings before finishing as the conference tournament runner-up. Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness to reach the title game after playing in the opening round. 

Preseason Picks

  • Sophomore Donovan Clay was named to the Preseason MVC Second Team.
  • Valpo was picked to finish eighth in the preseason poll based on a survey of the conference’s head coaches, media members and sports information directors.
  • Valpo exceeded preseason expectations a year ago after being picked to finish ninth. The Brown & Gold tied for sixth in the regular-season standings and went on to finish as the conference tournament runner-up.

Who’s Back, Who’s New?

  • This year’s team features 11 returning letter winners (nine scholarship, two walk-on) to go along with six newcomers (four scholarship, two walk-on).
  • Three letter winners departed from last year’s team.
  • Valpo returns 59.2 percent of its scoring and 64.3 percent of its rebounding from last season. Both numbers are up from a year ago, when Valpo returned just 40.1 percent of its scoring and 35.7 percent of its rebounding from 2018-19.
  • Last season, the entire roster was from either Indiana, Illinois or outside the United States. This year, Valpo has added three additional states to the mix in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida.
  • Still, six players hail from Illinois and four from Indiana. The six Illinois natives are the most since 2015-16.
  • Coincidentally, Valpo’s last player from the state of Florida before Sheldon Edwards shares the same last name. Lakeland native Richie Edwards played for the Brown & Gold during the 2011-2012 campaign.
  • Goodnews Kpegeol is the first Valpo player from the state of Minnesota since Cory Johnson’s final season on campus in 2010-2011.
  • Jacob Ognacevic is Valpo’s first player from Wisconsin since Andrew Ferry in 2008-2009.

Arrow Pointed Up

  • Valpo made its first conference championship appearance since 2015, doing so after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll.
  • Valpo reached the conference title game as only a third-year Missouri Valley Conference member. When Valpo transitioned from the Mid-Continent Conference to the Horizon League prior to the 2007-2008 season, the program didn’t reach the conference championship game until Year 5 and followed by winning its first Horizon League Tournament title in Year 6.
  • The men’s basketball program became the first Valpo team in any sport to reach the Missouri Valley Conference championship game during the department’s young tenure in the prestigious league.
  • Valpo accepted a postseason tournament invitation for the first time since joining The Valley, agreeing to a Tournament berth before the event was canceled due to the coronavirus.
  • The program had its largest win increase from the previous season (four) since jumping from 18 wins in 2013-14 to 28 in 2014-15.
  • Valpo finished with a winning record during the nonconference portion of the season for the 10th straight year. In addition, Valpo continued its history of home dominance and hasn’t finished with a losing mark at the ARC since 1991-92, extending its streak to 28 seasons. Valpo achieved a double-figure home win total for the ninth time in the last 10 years.

2019-20 Team Statistical Feats

  • Led the Missouri Valley Conference in assists per game at 15.2, the first time Valpo led a conference in that area since pacing the Horizon League in 2011-2012. The 15.2 assists per game was Valpo’s highest total since 2010-11 (15.8 apg) and the team’s second-highest output over the last 13 seasons. The squad ranked 29th nationally in assists per game and 12th in total assists.
  • Averaged 7.7 steals per game to rank second in the MVC and totaled 270 steals, a number that ranked 18th The team had its highest steals average since 2010-11 and the second-highest over the last 16 seasons.
  • The team averaged 72.3 points per game, second in the MVC. That was the team’s second-highest scoring average over the last eight seasons. In addition, the team jumped 5.5 points per game from 2018-19 to 2019-20.
  • Valpo made 287 3-pointers, the team’s second-most since 2008-09 and the third-most over the last 30 years.
  • The team had 922 made field goals, its third most over the last 30 years.
  • Valpo committed just 12.7 turnovers per game, the team’s lowest total over the last 30 seasons.

2020 Arch Madness Accomplishments

  • The Valpo/Loyola quarterfinal was the 18th overtime game in MVC Tournament history and the 20th game decided by a single point. It was the first one-point game in the MVC Tournament since Indiana State’s 51-50 victory over Evansville in 2013.
  • Valpo’s 89 points in the MVC semifinal against Missouri State were the seventh-most in a game in the 30-year history of Arch Madness. It was the highest scoring output in any MVC Tournament contest since Creighton put 99 on Evansville on March 3, 2012.
  • Valpo scored 287 points in the MVC Tournament, the third most in the history of the event and the most since Indiana State scored 310 in 1978.
  • The team’s 138 rebounds were the fourth most in MVC Tournament history and the most since Tulsa had 143 in 1978.
  • The 107 made field goals were the third most in MVC Tournament history and the most since Indiana State in 1978.
  • The 29 made 3-point field goals tied for the second most in MVC Tournament history (despite going 0-for against Evansville), joining 2009 Illinois State (32) and 1999 Evansville (29).
  • The 90 3-point field goal attempts shattered the previous tournament record of 76 (Drake 2008, Illinois State 2009).
  • Valpo made 10 3-pointers in the conference championship game, tying for the fourth most in the history of the MVC Final just a few days removed from hitting no 3s in a win over Evansville. Valpo became the first team to make zero 3s in an MVC Tournament Game since Southern Illinois went 0-for-6 on March 5, 1994 vs. Missouri State.
  • Valpo’s 29 3-point attempts in the MVC final tied for the second most in the history of the title game, joining Illinois State in 2009 (35 vs. UNI 2009) and Illinois State in 2012 (29 vs. Creighton).
  • Only one team since 1994 had made 15 or more field goals in the first half of an MVC title game (Drake 16 vs. Illinois State in 2008), and Valpo and Bradley had 15 apiece in the first half of this year’s championship game.
  • Valpo made seven 3s in the first half of the title game against Bradley, tying the MVC Tournament title game record of seven set by Southern Illinois on March 7, 1989 vs. Creighton. Valpo set the conference title game record for 3-point attempts in the first half with 16, eclipsing the previous mark of 15 set by Illinois State on March 8, 2009 vs. UNI.
  • Ryan Fazekas’ 21 3-point attempts in the MVC Tournament tied for the ninth-most in the history of the event.

Staff Sidebars

  • Associate head coach Luke Gore is in his 19th 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 10 years and was on staff for the three winningest seasons in program history. He oversees the team’s post players in addition to leading Valpo’s scheduling and scouting efforts.
  • Assistant coach Rob Holloway is back for his third season after spending the previous two years on staff at Eastern Illinois, his alma mater.
  • 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.
  • Director of Basketball Operations Jason Karys is in his second season in that capacity, but has been around the program in a variety of roles, spending two years as a graduate assistant, one as a walk-on player and three as a manager.
  • Bob Brooks is in his 17th year as Valpo Director of Strength & Conditioning at Valpo and has returned to oversight of men’s basketball strength & conditioning in 2020-21. He has worked with Valpo teams since 1994.
  • Graduate Assistant Peter Funk is in his second year in that role after three years as an undergraduate manager.
  • Athletic trainer Ken DeAngelis is in his second season full-time at Valpo after previously earning his master’s degree from the University in 2012 while spending two years as a graduate assistant athletic trainer.

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 10 years, including last year 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 NBA players in the last three years. 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-present).
  • Valpo has produced over 50 professional players in the last 25 years.

#0 Goodnews Kpegeol, R-So. (St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Matched a season high with 10 points on Feb. 17 at No. 22/23 Loyola, his third straight game with seven points or more.
  • Posted his highest scoring output in conference play with eight in the Feb. 13 win at UNI, making a pair of 3s after entering the night with just one made triple this season. He added two assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
  • Squeezed a season-high seven rebounds on Jan. 16 at DePaul to share the team lead. Also went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line to finish with eight points in addition to swiping three steals.
  • Posted the first double-figure scoring output of his collegiate career with 10 points on Dec. 9 vs. SIUE.
  • Scored his first collegiate points and finished with nine in 27 minutes of action on Dec. 4 at Purdue.
  • Made his Valpo debut in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt.
  • Joins the program as a junior college transfer after averaging 12.0 points and 5.8 rebounds at Southwest Mississippi in 2019-20.
  • Started the 2018-19 season at Taylor Made Prep in Pensacola, Fla., then transfered to Kansas State at the semester break and sat out the remainder of that season due to transfer rules.
  • Was a four-year letter winner at North High School in St. Paul, leading his team to a 22-5 overall mark and 15-1 conference record as a senior.
  • Played his high school basketball for Damian Johnson, who played collegiately at the University of Minnesota before going on to a professional career from 2010-2016. Johnson was teammates with Valpo head coach Matt Lottich when both played for the Oita Heat Devils in Japan in 2010-2011.
  • First name comes from his parents’ belief that he could bring something good into the world.

#1 Sigurd Lorange, So. (Trondheim, Norway)

  • Scored five points in the final three minutes on Feb. 22 at Southern Illinois, his first action since December after missing time with an injury.
  • Appeared in nine games in 2019-20 before having his rookie season cut short by a hip injury.
  • Averaged 2.9 points per contest while shooting a robust 60 percent (6-of-10) from 3-point land in limited action.
  • Played all kinds of sports as a child. His best three sports were soccer, handball and basketball. There were phases of his life where he wanted to pursue soccer or handball, but eventually figured out that basketball was the most fun sport for him.

#2 Zion Morgan, R-Sr. (Chicago, Ill.)

  • Scored in double figures for the second time in a three-game span with a career-high 15 points on Feb. 17 at No. 22/23 Loyola. He did so on 6-of-9 shooting and went 2-for-2 from 3 after entering the game 0-for-10 from 3 in his Valpo career.
  • Posted a career-high 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting while adding two assists and a steal in the Feb. 13 win at UNI.
  • Made his season debut on Jan. 28 vs. Bradley after missing the season’s first 13 games.
  • Appeared in 28 games during his first season at Valpo in 2019-20.
  • Joined the program as a junior college transfer after two seasons at Wabash Valley College.
  • Started his collegiate career by playing in 27 games and making five starts at UNLV in 2016-17.
  • Was teammates with Valpo’s Nick Robinson at Kenwood Academy in Chicago.

#3 Steven Helm III, R-So. (Valparaiso, Ind.)

  • Hit four crucial free throws, two in each game, to ice Valpo’s victories at Illinois State in the closing seconds on Jan. 23-24.
  • Handed out a team-high five assists and scored his first collegiate points in the Dec. 6 victory over Judson.
  • Made his Valpo debut on Dec. 4 at Purdue and recorded a plus-minus of +12 to lead the team.
  • Spent the last two years in Japan serving a mission for his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Started his collegiate career at Carroll College, where he competed in both basketball and track & field.
  • Connected at a 47.1 percent clip from 3-point range and a 94.2 percent clip from the foul line.
  • Qualified for nationals in track & field and helped his basketball team to the national tournament while at Carroll.
  • Transferred to Valpo and sat out the 2017-18 basketball season while competing in track & field that spring.
  • Led his Valparaiso High School team to a 20-7 record as a senior, averaging a team-high 16.1 points/game along with 3.5 assists/game.
  • Mother is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Valpo. Father Steve Jr. was an NAIA Third Team All-American at Montana State University-Northern and went on to play for the American Basketball Association’s Indiana Legends after his collegiate career. Steve Jr. followed his playing days with a coaching career that featured four seasons as an assistant on the Valpo women’s basketball staff.
  • Considers himself a "movie buff" and "Star Wars nerd." Saving Private Ryan and Star Wards Episode 3 are his favorite movies.

#4 Daniel Sackey, Jr. (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

  • Shattered a career high by squeezing nine rebounds on Jan. 28 vs. Bradley. His previous personal best was six.
  • Matched a season high with eight assists in each game on Jan. 23-24 at Illinois State. In the second game against the Redbirds, he poured in 16 points for the second-highest scoring output of his career and highest this season.
  • Contributed a season-high nine points and six boards on Jan. 16 at DePaul, equaling a career high on the glass with his fourth career six-rebound game and first this season.
  • Finished with his highest assist total since his nine-dime effort on Dec. 18, 2019 by handing out eight helpers on Dec. 9, 2020 vs. SIUE. Also swiped four steals, matching a career high with his second career four-steal effort.
  • Put together a balanced line of six points, five rebounds and six assists in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt - the first time in his collegiate career that he’s had five or more in all three categories in the same game. Also swiped four steals, equaling a career high.
  • Ranked fifth in the MVC and second among sophomores at 3.6 assists per game… Had a team-high 121 assists to go along with 6.3 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game and 35 steals while averaging 25.5 minutes over 34 contests (25 starts) as a sophomore in 2019-20.
  • Made a buzzer-beater to upstage Canadian powerhouse Carleton in overtime in August 2019, making an appearance on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays at No. 9 that evening.
  • Has been a drummer since elementary school. The basement of his family’s home in Canada includes a small recording studio. He has a deep passion for music.
  • Became just the sixth Manitoban to earn a scholarship in Division-I men’s basketball since the NCAA reorganized into its current competitive format in 1973.

#5 Donovan Clay, So. (Alton, Ill.)

  • Scored 16 points in the first half on Feb. 10 vs. Bradley on his way to a game-high 17.
  • Squeezed a career-high 14 rebounds in the Feb. 7 upset of No. 25 Drake.
  • Made his 50th consecutive start on Feb. 1 at Evansville and scored a team-high 14 points.
  • Enjoyed his second career double-double and first 20-point, 10-rebound effort on Jan. 23 at Illinois State. He became the fourth Valpo player during the Matt Lottich Era with a 20-point double-double, squeezing 12 rebounds in the triumph.
  • Enjoyed the fourth 20-point game of his career and his second this season with a season-high 21 points on Jan. 9 vs. Missouri State.
  • Became the second MVC player with a 13-rebound effort this season on Dec. 19 at Toledo, in the process securing his first career double-double and the first by a Valpo player in 2020-21. He scored a team-high 17 points to complement his effort on the glass.
  • Became the first Missouri Valley Conference player with a five-block game this season on Dec. 17 vs. Purdue Northwest, also becoming the first Valpo player to stuff five shots in a game since Jaume Sorolla on Jan. 26, 2019 vs. Drake.
  • Enjoyed his first 20-point output of the season and the third of his collegiate career to lead the team on Dec. 12 at Central Michigan. That marked his first 20-point effort in a road game at the collegiate level.
  • Led the team in scoring with 12 points on Dec. 1 at UIC.
  • Named to the MVC Preseason Second Team
  • Leading into the season, put a lot of time into his shot, agility and being able to run faster and jump higher.
  • Was one of two Valpo players to compete in all 35 games and made 33 starts during his freshman campaign.
  • Was third on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (4.6 ppg) while leading the team in blocked shots with 36 in 2019-20.
  • Earned a place on the MVC All-Freshman Team in 2019-20.
  • Scored in double figures on 19 occasions including eight outputs of 15+ points and two of 20+ points. He scored in double figures just once over his first seven games and then did so in 18 of the next 28.
  • Is a high-level video game player, following in the footsteps of former Valpo sharp-shooter Ryan Fazekas. Enjoys playing NBA 2K games online all the time. Also enjoys tossing a football or baseball in his spare time.

#10 Eron Gordon, R-Sr. (Indianapolis, Ind.)

  • Posted his first career double-double by matching a season high with 14 points and pulling down a personal-best 10 rebounds in the Jan. 23 win at Illinois State.
  • Led the team in scoring for a third straight game and rebounding for a fourth straight game with five boards to go along with a season-high 14 points on Jan. 20 vs. Loyola.
  • Led the team in rebounding for the third straight game on Jan. 16 at DePaul, pulling down seven boards to go along with a team-high 12 points. He paced Valpo in scoring for the second straight game after not doing so at all in any of his first 44 career contests.
  • Shared the team lead with a season-high 13 points on Jan. 10 vs. Missouri State, pacing the squad in scoring for the first time in his Valpo career.
  • Posted the eighth double figure scoring output of his Valpo career and his first of the season with 10 points on Dec. 9 vs. SIUE.
  • Made his first start of the season, his fifth overall at Valpo and his first since Jan. 29, 2020 at Bradley in the Dec. 4 game at Purdue.
  • Led the team on the glass for the first time in his Valpo career by squeezing a career-high eight rebounds in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt.
  • Was one of two players on the team who appeared in all 35 games in 2019-20.
  • Made the go-ahead layup with three seconds left in overtime in Valpo’s 74-73 upset win over Loyola in the MVC quarterfinal to help the Brown & Gold complete an 18-point rally. That was the 25th time since the start of the 1992-93 season that Valpo prevailed on a game-winner in the final five seconds.
  • Became the third Valpo player to hit a game-winner in the final five seconds of a conference tournament or postseason game since 1992-93, joining Ryan Broekhoff (2013 vs. Green Bay) and Bryce Drew (1998 vs. Ole Miss).
  • Joined the program in 2018-19 but sat out due to transfer rules. Appeared in 48 games over his two years at Seton Hall.
  • Oldest brother Eric was the seventh pick of the 2008 NBA Draft and has played 11 seasons in the NBA. Father Eric is one of the Top 20 all-time scorers at Liberty. Brother Evan is playing in the CBA after scoring over 1,300 points at the Division-I level at Liberty, Arizona State and Indiana.
  • Enjoys filming and editing videos and podcasting.
  • Enjoys travel and features his destinations on one of his YouTube channels.
  • Future plans include playing professional basketball, pursuing broadcast journalism and contributing to the family business, E3 Basketball Academy.

#11 Emil Freese-Vilien, Fr. (Copenhagen, Denmark)

  • Made his season debut on Feb. 10 vs. Bradley.
  • Appeared in 16 games and averaged 6.6 minutes per contest while totaling 16 points, four blocked shots, five assists and 15 rebounds (six offensive boards) during his rookie campaign in 2019-20.
  • Started playing basketball in November 2014 after playing badminton during his younger years.
  • Played for Denmark at both the U16 and U18 FIBA Euro Championships in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
  • Shortly before coming to Valpo, played for Vaerlose in the Danish Basketligaen, the highest professional league in Denmark.
  • Majoring in civil engineering
  • Has been very interested in drawing for many years. Wanted to become an architect for a long time and still has that dream in the back of his mind. Spends a lot of time drawing blueprints and houses.

#12 Tyler Fricke, Fr. (Arlington Heights, Ill.)

  • Made his collegiate debut and scored his first points with a pair of free throws in the Dec. 6 victory over Judson.
  • Joined the Valpo program as a walk-on for the 2020-21 season.
  • Father Scott coached Valpo head coach Matt Lottich at New Trier High School during Lottich’s playing days.
  • Brother Zach pitches for the Valpo baseball team.

#13 Sheldon Edwards, Fr. (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

  • Had his third straight game in double figures and his fourth straight multi-steal game with 10 points and three swipes on Feb. 10 vs. Bradley.
  • Matched a career high with 20 points on Feb. 6 vs. No. 25 Drake before adding 11 on Feb. 7 in an upset victory over the Bulldogs. In the Feb. 7 triumph, he slammed home a thunderous dunk that ranked No. 7 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays that evening. For his efforts, Edwards was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 8 while also earning College Sports Madness MVC Player of the Week honors.
  • Led the team with 18 points, including 11 in the two overtime periods, to lift Valpo to an 91-85 victory over Bradley on Jan. 28.
  • Scored 19 points over the two games vs. Missouri State on Jan. 9-10.
  • Poured in a personal-best 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds on Dec. 9 vs. SIUE.
  • Reached double figures for the first time in his Valpo career with a 10-point showing on Dec. 6 vs. Judson.
  • Became the seventh Valpo freshman in the last 20 years to start the season opener on Nov. 27 at Vanderbilt.
  • Averaged 21.2 points and 7.6 rebounds as a senior at Palm Beach Lakes High School in 2018-19.
  • Spent a postgraduate year at TLAP Sports Academy in Port St. Lucie, Fla. during the 2019-20 season, averaging 32 points per game and five rebounds per contest while turning in two games of 40+ points.
  • Favorite NBA player is Steph Curry, but he models his game after the likes of Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal. When he’s not playing basketball, the Valpo freshman spends much of his free time watching it.

#15 Luke Morrill, So. (Lombard, Ill.)

  • Joined the program as a walk-on prior to the 2019-20 season.
  • Saw action in five games, totaling nine minutes and accruing five points and two rebounds during his first season on campus.
  • Majoring in computer engineering.
  • Considers Valpo teammate Donovan Clay "like a brother" to him after the two were roommates as freshmen and during the spring 2020 COVID-19 quarantine.
  • Enjoys fishing and wakesurfing, which is surfing in the boat’s wake without being directly pulled by the boat.

#20/21 Brock Pappas, Jr. (Valparaiso, Ind.)

  • Made his season debut on Dec. 6 vs. Judson.
  • Nursing major who joined the program as a walk-on in 2018-19.
  • Is a Valparaiso, Ind. native and a graduate of nearby Washington Township.
  • Mother (Lisa) has worked on Valpo’s campus for 32 years, currently serving as an administrative assistant in the Department of Education. Brother (Bryce) and father (Steve) are both Valpo graduates.
  • Is the first boys basketball player in Washington Township High School history to play at the Division-I level.
  • Grew up attending Valpo games and remembers being a young child who looked up to Valpo basketball players.
  • Has always been interested in working with kids. Initially wanted to be a teacher but decided pediatric nursing is the field for him.

#22 Mileek McMillan, Sr. (Merrillville, Ind.) 

  • Went 4-of-7 shooting on his way to 10 points in the Feb. 13 win at UNI, his first double-figure scoring output since the season opener at Vanderbilt.
  • Drained four 3s on his way to a team-high 18 points on opening night at Vanderbilt on Nov. 27, when he finished two points shy of a career high and equaled a personal best with seven made field goals.
  • Was named to the MVC Most-Improved Team after upping his scoring average from 2.8 points per game as a sophomore to 8.8 points per game as a junior in 2019-20.
  • Started all 34 games that he played as a junior after making just one start and averaging 8.1 minutes per game as a sophomore.
  • Over doubled his rebounding average from the previous season, going from 1.5 to 3.2 in 2019-20. After making 10 3-pointers as a sophomore, he made 40 during his junior campaign and shot 42.3 percent from distance during conference play.
  • Enjoys playing with his dog, roller skating and playing chess... Likes to look at the sky, especially prior to rainfall or during a sunset... Is a big fan of nature and the sound of trains.
  • Twin brother Mahqueese attends Cal State Los Angeles.
  • Was cut from his middle school basketball team in seventh grade, made the "B" team in eighth grade and missed his freshman year of high school with an injury.

#23 Ben Krikke, So. (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

  • Enjoyed his third straight game of 18+ points by scoring 18 on 7-of-9 shooting to lead the team on Jan. 31 at Evansville, then equaled a career high with four assists on Feb. 1 in the second game of the back-to-back against the Purple Aces.
  • Was named the Missouri Valley Conference player of the week on Jan. 26, the first weekly conference honor of his collegiate career.
  • Became just the third Valpo player in the last 25 years with a 25-point, 15-rebound game on Jan. 24 at Illinois State.
  • Shattered his previous season high by halftime with 17 first-half points on Jan. 9 vs. Missouri State on his way to a career-high 21. He joined Javon Freeman-Liberty, Tevonn Walker and Alec Peters as the only four Valpo players with 17+ points in a first half during Matt Lottich’s head coaching tenure (fifth season).
  • Posted 16 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting in the Dec. 19 game at Toledo. The eight field goals marked a career high and the 16-point game was two shy of a personal best.
  • Tied a career high with seven rebounds on Dec. 17 vs. Purdue Northwest.
  • Had his fourth double-figure scoring output in the season’s first six games with 12 points to go along with a career-high three blocked shots on Dec. 12 at Central Michigan. He became the first Valpo player with three blocked shots in a game this season.
  • Scored in double figures in each of the first two games of the 2020-21 season (at Vanderbilt, at UIC), the first set of back-to-back double-figure outputs in the sophomore’s collegiate career. His second straight double-figure showing featured 11 points on an efficient 4-of-5 shooting on Dec. 1 at UIC.
  • Made his second career start and first against a Division-I opponent in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt. Finished with 13 points, all in the second half, in a career-high 34 minutes.
  • Leading into the season, spent time working on improving his shooting and hitting shots at a higher rate, especially from 3. Also worked on bulking up and improving his strength, dribbling and ball-handling. Hopes to be versatile enough to play on the perimeter if needed.
  • Appeared in 33 games and made one start during his freshman season… Averaged 6.7 points per game and 2.9 rebounds per contest while blocking 15 shots, coming away with 15 steals, shooting 79.2 percent at the foul line, draining 14 3s and handing out 22 assists… Shot 55.0 percent from the field, finishing fifth in the conference and second among freshmen in field-goal percentage.
  • Hails from Edmonton, a very devout hockey city, but says basketball there is on the upswing.
  • Never played ice hockey, but did compete in badminton, volleyball and various track & field events.
  • Loves to go fishing in the summer. Also enjoys mountain biking and chess, which he learned from his grandfather.

#25 Nick Robinson, R-Sr. (Chicago, Ill.)

  • Has opted out of the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

#34 Jacob Ognacevic, Fr. (Sheboygan, Wis.)

  • Posted a Division-I career high and shared the team lead with 15 points in the Feb. 21 win at Southern Illinois.
  • Had a team-best +19 in the plus/minus on Feb. 13 at UNI, seeing his most run in MVC play with 19 minutes of action. He shared the team lead with 12 points, finishing in double figures for the third time in a four-game span.
  • Came off the bench and accounted for 11 points in each of Valpo’s matchups with No. 25 Drake on Feb. 6-7, shooting at an 8-of-13 clip over the two games.
  • Shared team high honors with 13 points in just 12 minutes on an efficient 4-of-7 shooting on Jan. 10 vs. Missouri State.
  • Went off for 20 points in the home opener on Dec. 6 vs. Judson. This marks the seventh consecutive year that at least one Valpo player has scored 20+ points in the home opener. He and Connor Barrett became the first freshman tandem to each score 17+ points in the same game in over 20 years.
  • Drained four triples in just 14 minutes of action to achieve double figures for the first time in his collegiate career with 12 on Dec. 4 at Purdue.
  • Made his collegiate debut in the Nov. 27 season opener at Vanderbilt, knocking down a 3 with his only shot attempt of the game to account for his first career points.
  • Named to The Associated Press All-State First Team following his senior season at Sheboygan Lutheran in 2019-20 while also earning Herald Times Player of the Year, All-Big East Conference Player of the Year and Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State First-Team status.
  • Was a finalist for Wisconsin Mr. Basketball.
  • Led his team to a 27-2 record and the state championship in Wisconsin Division 5 during his junior season in 2018-19 and was on the way to a repeat before the 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID-19.
  • Became the 38th player in the history of Wisconsin high school basketball to accumulate 2,000 career points, reaching the milestone on Jan. 23, 2020 with a 54-point game against Ozaukee
  • Shattered the Sheboygan Lutheran scoring record that was previously held by Sam Dekker, who played in the NBA from 2015-2019 with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards…
  • Is a big fan of mixed martial arts and roots for all Boston professional sports teams.

#35 Connor Barrett, Fr. (Chicago, Ill.)

  • Is expected to miss the remainder of the season with an injury.
  • Finished with 12 points thanks to four made 3s on Jan. 23 at Illinois State, his fifth double-figure output as a freshman and his fourth game with three or more 3-pointers.
  • Had five steals on Jan. 9 vs. Missouri State, joining the short list of Valpo players with five or more steals in a game during the Matt Lottich Era (fifth season): Javon Freeman-Liberty (3), Lexus Williams (3) and Tevonn Walker (2).
  • Scored 14 points on Dec. 12 at Central Michigan, his second double-figure scoring output in a three-game span. That effort was highlighted at the foul line, where he went 6-for-6.
  • Knocked down five 3s in the home opener vs. Judson on Dec. 6, becoming the first freshman with five treys in a game since 2013-2014 and the first Valpo player to do so in the first four games of his freshman season since 2006-07.
  • Accrued his first collegiate points (3), rebounds (3) and assists (2) on Dec. 1 at UIC. His 3-pointer marked Valpo’s lone made triple of the contest.
  • One of three Valpo freshmen to make his collegiate debut on Nov. 27 at Vanderbilt.
  • Spent a postgraduate year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire during the 2019-20 season.
  • Averaged 11.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game at Loyola Academy as a high school senior during the 2018-19 season while knocking down 64 3-pointers and shooting at a 37.9 percent clip.
  • Led his high school team to back-to-back regional championships and sectional final appearances. Winning roots go back to his middle school days, when his team won three straight championships in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Says winning at a young age helped him mature for the next level.
  • Is an avid golfer whose best score is 73.