FACTS & STATS: Site: Calihan Hall (8,295) -- Detroit, Michigan. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Valpo 8-1, Detroit 9-0. Away Record: Valpo 5-4, Detroit 2-6. Neutral Record: Valpo 0-0, Detroit 0-0. Conference Record: Valpo 3-1, Detroit 3-1. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 11-8.
GAME NOTES: Two teams tied for second place in the Horizon League standings get together on Thursday night, as the Detroit Titans play host to the Crusaders of Valparaiso at Calihan Hall.
Winners of 17 straight at home, the Titans had produced a five-game win streak thanks to a 101-60 blowout of Youngstown State last week, but over the weekend the team saw that run come to an end with a 74-62 setback against Cleveland State. With the defeat, the Titans are now 3-1 in conference play which matches Valpo and trails only Wright State which began with a 4-0 mark.
As for the Crusaders, they are seeking their fourth consecutive win and the seventh in the last eight outings, after taking out the Milwaukee Panthers in conference play last Saturday, 76-52. One of the top defensive teams in the conference, Valpo has given up more than 70 points only once this season and is permitting just 59.2 ppg at the moment.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Crusaders hold an 11-8 advantage over Detroit, although the Titans won the most recent meeting by a convincing 70-50 score last season.
Ryan Broekhoff registered a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Crusaders delivered a 24-point win over the Milwaukee Panthers in Horizon League action at the Klotsche Center last Saturday. Also scoring in double figures for the Crusaders were Kevin Van Wijk with 12 points before fouling out, Matt Kenney with 11 and LaVonte Dority with 10 points off the bench as the team won for the third time in as many games. Valpo picked up the win by hitting 61.5 percent from the floor in the second half and limiting the hosts to only 34.0 percent from the field overall. A starter in all 17 games in which he has appeared, Broekhoff is a double-double waiting to happen as he leads the team in both scoring (17.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg), but what makes him so dangerous is his 3-point shooting as he leads the club with 47.0 percent accuracy from the outside.
The Detroit defense allowed the Vikings to shoot 51.9 percent from the floor and 8-of-14 out on the perimeter in their meeting last weekend, effectively taking the visitors out of contention. The Titans were their own worst enemy as they not only missed all seven chances from 3-point range in the second half and finished a dismal 3-of-18 for the game, but they also converted a woeful 13-of-32 (.406) at the free-throw line. The second half was particularly disappointing as the visitors made only 9-of-24 at the stripe. Ray McCallum, who scored a game-high 22 points, shot just 4-of-11 at the line. Nick Minnerath accounted for 16 points and a game-high 11 boards in the setback as well. McCallum is generally more accurate at the free-throw line, having knocked down 72.2 percent of his tries, and that has led to his 19.1 ppg, which paces five starters in double figures. Although he is shooting just 36.6 percent from the floor, Jason Calliste is another key figure on offense with 13.9 ppg and 52 assists.
A clash of the titans (so to speak), this is a meeting that could have lasting implications when the teams align themselves for the league tournament, which is why Detroit need to find some help in the paint if it's going to emerge victorious.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 71, Detroit 65
01/17 10:33:00 ET
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