Western Michigan (0-1*, 0-0 MAC)
at Valparaiso (0-1, 0-0 MVC)
*Entering Thursday’s game vs. Goshen
Game No. 2 – Sunday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m. CT
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will open up the home portion of the 2022-2023 slate on Sunday as Western Michigan comes to town for a 4 p.m. CT tipoff. It’s a country western theme night as the first 100 students will receive a free Valpo cowboy hat. This begins a stretch of three games in seven days as the Beacons visit Chicago State on Wednesday, Nov. 16 and host Incarnate Word on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Last Time Out: Toledo used an early 15-0 run to open up a 21-4 lead as the Beacons experienced cold shooting early in an eventual 85-70 setback to the Rockets, a team that has won the Mid-American Conference regular-season championship each of the last two seasons. Ben Krikke turned in a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, rebounding from an uncharacteristic first half with a strong second half. Quinton Green buried five 3s on his way to a team-high 20 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 (97-97) 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: Western Michigan holds a 38-30 lead in an all-time series that dates all the way back to the early days of Valpo’s program. The first matchup between these two foes took place over a century ago in 1920. Last season, Valpo prevailed 71-60 in Kalamazoo, the first matchup between the two teams since 2007. This will mark the first time the Broncos have visited the ARC since a 77-65 Valpo victory on Nov. 28, 2007.
Home Opener History
- When the Beacons open up the home portion of the season on Sunday, they will look to get back on track in terms of home-opening success.
- The program had won the home opener in 16 consecutive seasons with 14 of those victories coming by double figures prior to starting the 2021-2022 campaign with a 69-61 setback vs. Toledo.
- Last season marked the first time Valpo started the home slate with a loss since Nov. 27, 2004, an 85-71 defeat to Charlotte.
- Road openers have been a different story, as the Brown & Gold have dropped the first road game of the season in five straight years, including this season’s tipoff at Toledo.
- Valpo has finished with a home record of .500 or better in 30 straight seasons.
The Green Light
- Quinton Green scored 13 second-half points as part of a 20-point output in his Division-I debut on Nov. 7 at Toledo.
- Green appeared to have the green light from long range as he connected on five of his nine 3-point attempts.
- The former Division-II Cedarville standout matched a career high for made 3s, as he made five triples twice during his four-year career with the Yellow Jackets, most recently on Feb. 3, 2022.
- Green became the first Valpo player to make five 3s in a game since Sheldon Edwards on Feb. 16 of last season vs. Loyola.
- Green became the first Valpo player to make five 3s in a season opener since Darien Walker on Nov. 14, 2014 vs. East Tennessee State.
- Green’s 20-point output was the 18th of his collegiate career.
- Valpo senior Ben Krikke enters the Nov. 13 home opener on the cusp of a significant career milestone, as he is eight points away from 1,000 for his collegiate career. He has 992 career points.
- Krikke is looking to become the first Valpo player to reach the 1,000-career-point threshold since current graduate assistant Tevonn Walker hit that mark on Nov. 13, 2017 vs. Trinity Christian.
- Last season, 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.
- The Valpo forward entered this season having played in 90 career games with two years of eligibility remaining. The threshold to crack the program’s all-time top 10 is 126 and the program record is 138 (Erik Buggs). He started the final 29 games last season after missing the first three games of the year due to an ankle injury.
- 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.
- Speaking of Krikke, the senior forward put together his second career double-double in the Nov. 7 season opener at Toledo, pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with 18 points.
- This marked the second-highest rebounding output of Krikke’s career behind only his career-high 15 on Jan. 24, 2021 at Illinois State, part of his only prior double-double.
- The bulk of Krikke’s production came in the second half, as he rebounded from a slow start to hit six of his seven second-half field-goal attempts. He finished with 13 points and five rebounds in the second half alone.
- Krikke became the first Valpo player with a double-double in a season opener since Markus Golder on Nov. 10, 2017 vs. North Park.
- Valpo shot 67.9 percent in the second half of the Nov. 7 season opener at Toledo, making 19 of the team’s 28 attempts including 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) from 3.
- This marked Valpo’s best field-goal percentage in a half since shooting 68.4 percent in the second half on Feb. 19, 2022 at Evansville.
- This was the program’s third-highest single-half shooting percentage of the Matt Lottich Era behind the aforementioned half against Evansville and the first half on Feb. 17, 2018 vs. Bradley (73.9 percent).
- The 75-60 season-opening setback at Toledo on Nov. 7 came against a strong opponent.
- Picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference, Toledo has won the MAC regular-season title each of the last two years and returned four starters from last season.
- Entering the contest, the Rockets were ranked No. 4 in the CollegeInsiders.com Mid-Major Top 25 and were received votes nationally in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches’ poll.
- Toledo, which posted a 17-3 MAC mark last season, ranks 28th nationally with 112 wins over the last five seasons and rank 18th nationally with 47 wins over the last two years.
- Kobe King has scored in double figures in 20 of his 24 games in a Valpo uniform, including a 15-point effort in this year’s season opener on Nov. 7 at Toledo.
- The former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball has scored 15 or more points in 11 of his 24 games with the Beacons.
- The Nov. 7 lidlifter at Toledo marked King’s 25th double-figure scoring effort in his collegiate career.
- 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.
Other Notes Wrapping Up Nov. 7: Toledo 85, Valpo 70
- The Beacons played shorthanded for the season opener as Ibra Bayu, Maximus Nelson, Preston Ruedinger and Connor Barrett were all sidelined.
- Only two players – Darius DeAveiro and Emil Freese-Vilien – saw action in both last season’s opener vs. Toledo and this year’s opener at Toledo.
- Point guard Nick Edwards accrued eight points on an efficient 4-of-6 shooting to go along with a team-high five assists.
- Toledo had 14 steals while forcing 17 Valpo turnovers.
Scouting the Broncos
- Picked to finish eighth of 12 in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll.
- Trailed by nine with under two minutes remaining but rallied to get within a point in a 61-60 defeat to Big Ten foe Minnesota in the Nov. 7 season opener.
- Will be playing their third game of the season as they also host Goshen College on Thursday before Sunday’s game at Valpo.
- Under the direction of first-year head coach Dwayne Stephens.
- Returned Lamar Norman Jr., who averaged 19.8 points per game last season to lead the MAC in scoring.
- Also brought back Markeese Hastings, who finished second in the MAC in rebounding at 8.8 per game last year.
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.
Century Mark in Sight
- Valpo head coach Matt Lottich earned his 97th career win on March 3, 2021 vs. Evansville in the opening round of the MVC Tournament.
- He enters the season needing three more wins to become just the fourth head coach in program history to reach 100 career victories, joining Homer Drew, Bryce Drew and J.M Christiansen.
- Last season, Lottich moved into sole possession of fourth place in program history, surpassing the legendary Gene Bartow (1964-1970). On a side note, Valpo assistant coach Matt Bowen worked under Bartow at UAB in 1995.
Point Guard Prowess
- Sophomore Preston Ruedinger has been placed on scholarship after spending much of the 2021-22 season as the starting point guard while competing as a nonscholarship freshman. He initially planned to redshirt but instead used a season of eligibility, making his season debut on Dec. 20 vs. Eastern Michigan.
- Ruedinger did not make more than one turnover in any of his 19 contests and played turnover-free basketball on 11 occasions.
- He finished the season with 32 assists against just eight turnovers. He was the only player in the nation with 30 or more assists and fewer than 10 turnovers, becoming the first Valpo player to finish a season with 30 or more assists and fewer than 10 turnovers in the last 15 years.
- At season’s end, Ruedinger was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team, the fourth straight season Valpo has had a rookie earn that distinction.
- In addition, sophomore Darius DeAveiro finished his freshman season as one of two freshmen nationally (joining Youngstown State’s Luke Chicone) with 50 or more assists and fewer than 25 turnovers. He was the only player in the MVC to achieve that feat.
- Valpo has added fifth-year senior Nick Edwards to the mix after he played at Glenville State last season. Edwards was one of eight players in the Division-II nation to post a triple-double a year ago en route to averaging 7.9 assists per game over 11 games while being limited by a foot injury.
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.
- #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 – 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.
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.