Valparaiso (2-1) at Kent State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 18, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MAC Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Valparaiso 2-0, Kent State 2-1. Away Record: Valparaiso 0-1, Kent State 0-0. Neutral Record: Valparaiso 0-0, Kent State 0-0. Conference Record: Valparaiso 0-0, Kent State 0-0. Series Record: Kent State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Coming off their first loss of the season, the Valparaiso Crusaders close out a two-game road trip, when they invade the MAC Center to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes.
The Crusaders bring a 2-1 record into this game, coming off a tight 50-48 loss to Nebraska last time out. The setback spoiled a strong start to the season for Valparaiso, which topped both Georgia Southern (85-54) and Northern Illinois (69-46) in impressive fashion at home to begin the year.
The Golden Flashes also carry a 2-1 record and in each of their three games have had a different player lead the team in scoring. They are coming off a 92-63 domination of Chicago State and will play their fourth consecutive game at home to start the season. The team will close out a season-opening five- game homestand on Nov, 20 against Bethune-Cookman.
Kent State has won both prior meetings between these squads. They have not met since December of 1991 when the Golden Flashes won 76-45 in Kent.
Valpo won the Horizon League a season ago and hopes to get back to that type of success this season. After starting off with two convincing wins over Georgia Southern and Northern Illinois, the Crusaders fell to Nebraska 50-48. In the game, they trailed by 14 points, but fought back late, ending the game on an 11-2 run. Kevin Wijk paced the team with 20 points and added six rebounds, but his performance was not enough to overcome Nebraska. In their first three games, the Crusaders have held their opponents to 34.8 percent shooting from the floor, while carrying a 46.6 field goal percentage themselves. Ryan Broekhoff is once again leading the way for Valpo with team- highs of 14.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Van Wijk is the only other player currently in double figures at 13.3 ppg.
Kent State opened the season with an overtime win at home over a solid Drexel team. The Golden Flashes won 66-62 behind a Chris Evans performance of 21 points and nine rebounds. Evans has scored in double figures in all three games this season and currently paces the team with 17.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Randal Holt is next in the scoring column at 14.3 ppg. Against Chicago State, the Golden Flashes showed more offensive balance, as five players finished in double figures, led by Devareaux Manley's 20 points. Holt added 15 points, followed by Evans (14), Mark Henniger (11) and Bryson Pope (10).
This should be a good matchup between a couple of evenly-matched squads. The Crusaders still need to prove they can win on the road, but Kent State may have something to say about that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 71, Valparaiso 64
11/18 10:44:00 ET