IUPU-Ft. Wayne (5-4) at Valparaiso (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) -- Valparaiso, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 3-0, Valparaiso 4-0. Away Record: IPFW 1-3, Valparaiso 1-2. Neutral Record: IPFW 1-1, Valparaiso 0-0. Conference Record: IPFW 0-0, Valparaiso 0-0. Series Record: Valparaiso leads 8-3.
GAMES NOTES: After a thrilling win the IUPU-Ft. Wayne Mastodons will have a great deal of momentum coming into the Athletics-Recreation Center when they face the Valparaiso Crusaders Wednesday night.
Mario Hines got his last second shot to fall to lift IPFW to a come-from- behind victory against Miami-Ohio in the Mastadons' last outing. The win was the third in four games for the Mastadons who sit at 5-4 overall. However IPFW has struggled on the road where the team is just 1-3. This game begins a three-game road trip for the Mastadons which continues against Drake on Saturday.
Valparaiso had a three-game winning streak end in its most recent outing when it lost to Saint Louis 62-49 on the road. Before that the Crusaders had cleaned up in the first six games of the season with wins in five of those contests, including three straight wins during the Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic. The Crusaders have been tough to crack at home where they are a perfect 4-0. The Crusaders will begin a three-game road trip against No. 18 New Mexico next.
Although Valparaiso leads the all-time series, IPFW has taken three of the last four meetings between these programs.
IPFW trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half against Miami but stormed back down the stretch and took a 55-52 lead with 1:10 remaining. The RedHawks then got four points from the free-throw line to take a 56-55 lead with 24 seconds remaining. That led to Hines' game-winning shot on the Mastadons' next possession. Joe Edwards led the team with 10 points, while Hines was one of three players with nine.
In the win, IPFW held an opponent to 60 points or fewer for the fifth time this season. With that type of defense the Mastadons have enjoyed a +7.2 scoring differential, although it warrants mentioning that much of that came from a 92-22 rout of NAIA squad Judson. Normally a potent scorer, Frank Gaines finished with only nine points on 3-of-14 shooting in the win over Miami. The senior guard is still averaging 19.2 points per game which is by far the best mark on the squad, considering no other player is averaging in double figures. Hines (9.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is the closest thing to a second option and has scored in double figures in four games this season. Luis Jacobo (8.4 ppg) could be scoring more if he improved his 37.0 field goal percentage.
Valparaiso was stifled in its loss to Saint Louis as it scored a season-low 49 points on 32.6 percent shooting. The Crusaders' defensive showing was nowhere near where the Billikens' were, with Valparaiso allowing Saint Louis to shoot 55.6 percent from the field. Valparaiso also turned the ball over 18 times which led to 20 points for the Billikens. Ryan Broekhoff scored 10 points but needed 12 shots to do so.
Despite the loss, the Crusaders have still been solid at both ends of the floor this season. Valparaiso scores a healthy 69.0 points per game and shoots 45.9 percent overall. On the other end the Crusaders are surrendering only 57.9 points per game, while teams shoot 40.7 percent. Valparaiso also has the benefit of a +5.1 edge in rebounding. Broekhoff (16.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is a forward that can stretch the floor and is not afraid to shoot from beyond the arc. Kevin Van Wijk (15.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg) plays closer to the basket and has been able to get himself to the line effectively by banging inside with three games with 12 or more free throw attempts. The Crusaders are less explosive from the backcourt with Erik Buggs (5.9 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Matt Kenney (8.0 ppg, 3.1 apg) taking on more of a role passing the ball.
IPFW is coming off a thrilling victory, but topping Valparaiso in its own building probably isn't in the cards.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 66, IUPU-Ft. Wayne 55
12/05 10:37:13 ET