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Valparaiso (12-9) at Cleveland State (12-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 25, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wolstein Center (9,100) -- Cleveland, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Valpo 8-3, CSU 8-2. Away Record: Valpo 3-6, CSU 4-7. Neutral Record: Valpo 1-0, CSU 0-0. Conference Record: Valpo 4-2, CSU 4-3. Series Record: Cleveland State leads, 28-13.
GAME NOTES: Horizon League rivals square off at the Wolstein Center on Saturday afternoon, as the Valparaiso Crusaders pay a visit to the Cleveland State Vikings.
Valpo is just two days removed from a 74-71 triumph over Youngstown State. The victory was the third straight for the Crusaders, who have improved to 12-9 overall and 4-2 in league play during the winning streak. They will return home to host Green Bay next.
Cleveland State took down Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday, 74-64, for its second win in the last three games. The Vikings are also 12-9 overall, although they have a mark of 4-3 against conference foes. A four-game road trip is next on the schedule, beginning on Tuesday at Eastern Illinois.
The Crusaders have won four straight against the Vikings, including a season sweep a year ago. However, Cleveland State leads the all-time series, 28-13.
LaVonte Dority poured in a game-high 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help lift Valpo over Youngstown State. The Crusaders rallied from a 36-27 deficit at halftime to collect the win, as they sank 57.7 percent of their shots and 14-of-16 at the free-throw line in the final 20 minutes.
Valpo ranks high in the Horizon League, sitting third in scoring (77.6 ppg) and second in field goal percentage (.479). The Crusaders are also the top rebounding team in the conference (38.6 rpg), while holding foes to 39.5 percent shooting. Dority (16.5ppg) is connecting on 46.6 percent of his shots to lead a trio of double-digit scorers. Alec Peters (12.4 ppg, 5 rpg) is one of the team's better rebounders, as well as a point producer. He finished with nine points and seven rebounds against Youngstown State. Jordan Coleman (10.1 ppg) is also a reliable contributor.
Bryn Forbes drained 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc and logged a game-high 20 points to lead four players in double figures in Cleveland State's win over Illinois-Chicago. The Vikings shot 47.2 percent overall and had a 30-12 scoring edge from 3-point range.
The Vikings are just a step behind the Crusaders in terms of offensive efficiency, as they rank fourth in the Horizon League in scoring (73.8 ppg) and third in field goal percentage (.473). Cleveland State is also a formidable defensive unit, limiting foes to 67.3 ppg and 40.8 percent shooting. Forbes (16 ppg) is the leading scorer, but often gets help from the rest of the roster, with Trey Lewis (13.8 ppg, 3.5 apg), Jon Harris (10.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Anton Grady (10.4 ppg) all averaging in double figures as well. Harris posted 18 points and 10 rebounds, Lewis tallied 16 points and Anton Grady netted 12 against UIC.
Both of these teams are solid at the offensive end of the floor. The Vikings' superior balance and defensive track record, added to the homecourt advantage, point to a CSU victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cleveland State 75, Valparaiso 69
01/25 10:16:19 ET