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Wright State (13-4) at Valparaiso (14-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) -- Valparaiso, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Wright State 8-0. Valpo 8-1. Away Record: Wright State 4-3, Valpo 6-4. Neutral Record: Wright State 1-1, Valpo 0-0. Conference Record: Wright State 4-0, Valpo 0-4. Series Record: Wright State leads, 9-6.
GAMES NOTES: The Wright State Raiders and the Valparaiso Crusaders will battle for supremacy in the Horizon League when the two teams meet up at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Saturday night.
With wins in all four of its conference contests, Wright State has risen to the top spot in the Horizon League and as the only undefeated team in league play remaining. The Raiders are also a strong 13-4 overall that has included just a 4-3 mark on the road. This is the second contest of a four-game road trip for the Raiders who will face Detroit next.
Valparaiso has also been rolling of late with four straight victories as well. The last four victories have all been in league play after the Crusaders dropped their league opener against Loyola-Chicago. The Crusaders have racked up a 14-5 overall mark to this point, including an impressive 8-1 mark at the ARC. Valparaiso will next host Green Bay on Wednesday.
A year ago those teams split the season series with the home team coming out on top each time. OVerall Wright State leads the all-time series, 9-6.
Reggie Arceneaux nailed a 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining and the Raiders held on in the final minute to earn a 62-61 victory against Loyola-Chicago last time out. Wright State shot 45.1 percent from the field in the contest and nailed 8-of-23 shots from beyond the arc, while collecting eight blocked shots as a team. Arceneaux was stellar in the contest as he poured in 29 points.
It has been on the defensive side of the ball that Wright State has been most effective this season. The Raiders are allowing just 55.8 points per game, which is the 10th best mark in the country, while holding teams to less than 40 percent shooting. That has allowed Wright State to overcome its less than impressive offensive numbers. The Raiders are scoring a conference low 62 points per game and netting 43.4 percent of their shots from the floor. Arceneaux's effort against Loyola-Chicago was well beyond his season average as the 5-foot-9 guard is averaging just 10.8 points per game on 39.1 percent shooting. However he has scored at least 15 points in three of the last four games. Cole Darling (10.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is the only other player in double figures for the Raiders.
Valparaiso rallied from an 18-point deficit against Detroit to earn an 89-88 victory its last time out. Trailing 88-77 with 3:01 remaining the Crusaders ripped off a 12-0 run in the final minutes capped by a pair of free throws from Ryan Broekhoff to finish off the come from behind victory.
The Crusaders can boast much more impressive offensive numbers than the Raiders. Valparaiso has been the best shooting team in the conference (.466 FG percentage) while netting the third most points per game (70). Valparaiso has also been solid on the defensive end of the floor as teams are putting in just 60.7 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting against the Crusaders. The frontcourt duo of Broekhoff (17.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Kevin Van Wijk (13.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) has powered Valparaiso. Broekhoff has certainly put together a strong case as player of the year in the conference thus far ranking first in the conference in rebounds, second in scoring and fourth in field goal percentage. Van Wijk has been a more than respectable second option as he connects on a Horizon League leading 62.6 percent of his field goal attempts. LaVonte Dority (12.4 ppg) missed the first nine games of the season but has come on to provide a nice scoring complement in the backcourt.
This matchup is a crucial one that could very well have implications early on for who runs the table in the Horizon League. Broekhoff and Van Wijk have played so well together and with the addition of Dority in recent weeks the Crusaders look like they will be tough to beat all season, especially at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 73, Wright State 69
01/19 10:32:54 ET