Valparaiso (20-7) at Loyola-Chicago (14-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 19, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentile Arena (4,486) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Valpo 12-2, Loyola 7-4. Away Record: Valpo 8-5, Loyola 6-7. Neutral Record: Valpo 0-0, Loyola 1-1. Conference Record: Valpo 10-3, Loyola 4-9. Series Record: Loyola-Chicago leads, 34-14.
GAME NOTES: The Valparaiso Crusaders look to avenge one of their three Horizon League losses as they visit the Windy City to tangle with the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers at Gentile Arena.
The Ramblers downed Valpo, 63-54, on Jan. 2 in the conference opener for both sides at the ARC. The victory extended Loyola's all-time series lead to 34-14.
Bryce Drew's Crusaders managed to go 10-1 against Horizon League foes since Jan. 2 until it fell at home, 84-74, to Detroit on Saturday. The loss dropped Valpo to a 20-7 overall record. Matt Kenney led five players in double figures with 18 points off the bench against the Titans. Will Bogan tallied 15 points while Erik Buggs chipped in 12 points and eight assists.
Ryan Broekhoff, who leads Valpo with 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per tilt, finished with just 10 points and four boards in the loss to Detroit. Kevin Van Wijk, who is second in both scoring (12.8) and rebounding (5.0), added 10 points and was just a rebound shy of a double-double. The balanced effort that has usually guided the Crusaders to wins is helping them produce 71.1 ppg, which is the third best scoring offense average in the Horizon League. Valpo is also the owner of the third best scoring defense mark with only 62.0 points allowed per tilt.
The Ramblers returned home after a fruitless three-game road swing that included setbacks to Wright State (62-59), Youngstown State (60-59) and Milwaukee (71-53) to surprise their crosstown rival Illinois-Chicago with a 69-60 upset. The win ended the Ramblers four-game losing slide and rose Loyola to a 14-12 record. The team has been without its senior leader Ben Averkamp for the past three games with a concussion.
With Averkamp's 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game missing, Christian Thomas registered a double-double of 23 points and 11 boards for Loyola against the Flames. Jordan Hicks added 18 points and Devon Turk chipped in 10 points. Loyola is slightly ahead of Valpo in the scoring defense column with 60.8 points allowed per game.
Thomas averages 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per tilt, but none of the other Ramblers are scoring in double figures. Turk, Cully Payne and Hicks will all need to step up their play for Loyola if Averkamp is unable to suit up again.
The Ramblers will have a tough time repeating their success against the Crusaders without Averkamp. Valpo's one-two punch at forward is going to be the key to its victory, which is needed to stay at the peak of the Horizon League standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 67, Loyola-Chicago 60
02/19 10:33:28 ET