Valparaiso (2-1) at Ohio University (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 17, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Valpo 2-0, Ohio 1-0. Away Record: Valpo 0-1, Ohio 0-1. Neutral Record: Valpo 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Valpo 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: Ohio leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Bryce Drew and his Valparaiso Crusaders will continue their road trip with a visit to the Convocation Center for a non-conference bout with the Ohio University Bobcats on Sunday.
Valparaiso began its season with a hard-fought, 77-74 victory over Murray State before it coasted to a 113-50 win over North Park. The Crusaders could not produce the same results in their first road game and fell to 2-1 with a 64-52 loss to Illinois in Champaign. Drew's team was one of the elite mid- major programs in the nation in 2012-13 as it achieved 26 wins and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The former Chicago Bulls point guard had a lot to replace from his conference championship winning unit and came into the season with four returners and six eligible newcomers.
The Bobcats will be looking secure a winning record once again after falling to 1-1 with a 79-69 setback at Ohio State on Tuesday. Coach Jim Christian's squad took down Northern Iowa in its season opener to improve to 39-3 over its past 42 games at the Convocation Center. Ohio managed to finish strong in its last outing as it outscored the nationally-ranked Buckeyes by two points, while holding them to just 35 percent shooting from the floor over the final 20 minutes of the contest.
This will be just the third installment of the series between Valparaiso and Ohio. The Bobcats own a 2-0 record versus the Crusaders thanks to their narrow, 78-75 win over the Horizon League program when it visited Athens on Nov. 23, 2010. The Green & White have posted a 41-12 all-time record against teams currently in the Horizon League.
The Crusaders have identified a pair of on-court leaders in Jordan Coleman and LaVonte Dority, who are averaging 15 and 14 points per game, respectively. The 6-foot-5 Coleman did his best to propel Valpo past the Fighting Illini as he finished with team-highs of 15 points and eight rebounds. Dority, who became eligible mid season in 2012-13 after transferring from South Florida, finished with 12 points at Illinois to register his second straight double-digit scoring performance. The Crusaders have hit 44.9 percent of their 3-point field goal tries and have 39 assists against 38 turnovers on the campaign. Drew has a solid big man in Alabama transfer Moussa Gueye, but the seven-foot, 270-pound center has had his playing time limited due to foul trouble through his first three games with the program.
Ohio also lost a great deal of its team to graduation, but senior guard Nick Kellogg has smoothly transitioned from his previous role as a contributor to become the team's new go-to-guy. Kellogg, who is the son of former OSU star Clark Kellogg, poured in 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor versus his father's alma mater. Steve Taylor matched Kellogg and set a new career- high with 21 points, while Maurice Ndour tallied 10 points and nine rebounds. The 6-9 Ndour paced the squad with 20 points in the season opener and Ricardo Johnson has also produced 11.5 ppg so far.
The Bobcats lack the superstar distributor they had a season ago, but still have plenty of players that can hurt the opposition from long range. Valpo was once a Cinderella story during March Madness and is still not a team that should be counted out of any contest, but it will have trouble taming the Bobcats on their own floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 73, Valparaiso 68
11/17 10:35:28 ET