Oakland (9-16) at Valparaiso (14-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 9, 2:35 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) -- Valparaiso, Indiana. Television: HLN. Home Record: Oakland 8-3, Valpo 9-4. Away Record: Oakland 1-10, Valpo 4-7. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-3, Valpo 1-0. Conference Record: Oakland 4-6, Valpo 6-4. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 17-6.
GAME NOTES: Valparaiso tries to bounce back from a difficult loss, as the Crusaders host the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in Horizon League action at the ARC.
On Friday night, the Crusaders appeared to be on their way to a victory against Detroit, but that was before the Titans knocked down a 3-pointer in the final six seconds to pull out a 59-57 win. The setback snapped a brief two-game win streak for Valpo and dropped the program to 6-4 in conference play, which means they are currently alone in third place in the standings.
Much further down in the Horizon is Oakland with a 4-6 mark, tied with Detroit for seventh place entering play on Sunday. The team was last in action on Thursday night when it bowed to Cleveland State at home by a score of 92-85. The loss was the second in as many games and dropped Oakland to 8-3 at home.
Valparaiso leads the all-time series by a count of 17-6, posting nine wins in 11 attempts at the ARC over the years. However, the Grizzlies won the first meeting of this season back in early January by a 75-70 score, thanks to Duke Mondy and Travis Bader who scored 24 and 20 points, respectively, combining to convert 9-of-14 behind the 3-point line.
Oakland, which is a dismal 1-10 away from the O'rena this season, has won six of the last seven after bowing in the first 16 games of the series.
The second-leading scorer among active players in the NCAA with his 2,172 points, Bader showed why he is one of the most devastating perimeter shooters of all-time on Thursday as he converted a staggering 10-of-13 behind the 3- point line and finished with a game-high 35 points, although the Golden Grizzlies still suffered the loss versus Cleveland State. Dante Williams and Corey Petros also landed in double figures for the hosts with 21 and 10 points, respectively, while Kahlil Felder handed out 10 assists for a team that shot not only 54.2 percent from the floor but also 51.7 percent out on the perimeter.
Now the all-time leader in 3-point baskets at the Division I level, Bader has a staggering 471 triples in his career, 114 of those coming in 25 games just this season. Of his 366 field goal attempts in 2013-14, 278 have come from beyond the arc, as he leads the Grizzlies in scoring with 20.1 ppg. Not only is he a sniper on the outside, Bader is also one of the nation's top free- throw shooters as well at 94.5 percent and yet the team as a whole is making only 74.0 percent at the stripe. Part of the problem is Petros who, while he is second on the unit with 13.6 ppg, he is converting a mere 55.5 percent at the line.
In a game that featured eight ties and a whopping 27 lead changes, the Crusaders found themselves on the outside looking in when the final buzzer went off against Detroit on Friday night. Alec Peters tried to hold it together for the hosts with his 16 points, aided by LaVonte Dority with 13, but the latter shot only 4-of-12 from the field as Valpo ended up with almost as many turnovers (15) as field goals (19).
Over the course of 25 games, Dority has produced 17.1 ppg, thanks to his 46.2 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line, fueling a Valpo offense that has produced 75.3 ppg overall. However, when it comes to conference play the team's overall output dips to 68.1 ppg, even while Dority jumps to 19.6 ppg in those 10 contests. Unfortunately, when facing the rest of the Horizon, the Crusaders don't have another double-digit scorer at their disposal, with Lexus Williams coming closest with his 8.5 ppg.
Bader can't possibly keep up the pace he has set for himself on the perimeter, but until an opponent figures out how to slow him down he will keep firing up shots from long distance, and that could prove decisive for the Golden Grizzlies this afternoon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 76, Valparaiso 66
02/09 10:15:55 ET