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Valparaiso (17-12) at Wright State (16-13)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 25, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Nutter Center (11,000) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Valparaiso 11-4, WSU 12-2. Away Record: Valparaiso 5-8, WSU 3-11. Neutral Record: Valparaiso 1-0, WSU 1-0. Conference Record: Valparaiso 9-5, WSU 8-6. Series Record: Wright State leads, 12-11.

GAME NOTES: With the end of the regular season less than a week away, the Crusaders of Valparaiso and the Wright State Raiders try to improve their respective standing in the Horizon League tonight.

The Crusaders enter play this week in third place in the standings, trailing only Green Bay and Cleveland State with two games remaining before the start of the league tournament. Just 5-8 on the road, Valpo has been moving in the right direction of late, winning three of its last four outings thanks to a narrow 68-66 triumph versus Youngstown State over the weekend.

As for Wright State, it is sitting in fourth place in the HL with eight wins in 14 chances. The team has come out on top in two straight and three of the last four outings, the latest being a 65-61 decision against Detroit on Friday night at home.

The Raiders crushed Valpo in the first meeting of the season, 62-45, which means Wright State now leads the all-time series by a 12-11 advantage.

A 3-pointer by Bobby Capobianco with just under a minute to play put Valparaiso in front to stay, as the Crusaders claimed the two-point win over Youngstown State at the ARC on Saturday. Capobianco finished the meeting with eight points off the bench for the Crusaders. Alec Peters led the way for Valpo with 22 points, shooting 5-of-11 beyond the arc, followed by LaVonte Dority with 15 points and six assists in the victory. Thanks to the efforts of Capobianco and his fellow reserves, the bench for Valpo outscored that of YSU, 19-2.

In the case of conference play. the Crusaders are putting up only 67.3 ppg and have just a single player in double figures, with Dority posting 17.9 ppg. Dority has feasted at the free-throw line (71-of-83) and also been very strong behind the 3-point line (31-of-65), but still this is a unit that leans heavily on a defensive effort that has held fellow Horizon members to only 39.4 percent shooting from the floor and a mere 64.4 ppg.

Despite shooting a disastrous 34.6 percent from the field in the first half last week against Detroit, the Raiders trailed by only a point at the half and were able to bounce back for the four-point home win once it was all said and done. Before fouling out, AJ Pacher tallied 19 points and seven rebounds, followed by Matt Vest and Reggie Arceneaux with 16 and 15 points, respectively, as the hosts outscored the Titans at the free-throw line, 19-14.

Overall this season, Wright State is putting up just 67.3 ppg, identical to Valpo's average in conference action, while the defense clamps down on opponents and limits them to 62.4 ppg. Pacher is the lone double-digit scorer with 10.4 ppg, connecting on 61.4 percent of his field goal chances, but his overall productivity has been stifled by the fact that he has fouled out of seven contests.

With a victory, the Crusaders would be guaranteed a finish no worse than third in league play, but Wright State has been very tough to beat at home this season, so the outcome could easily go in favor of the hosts.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 66, Valparaiso 63

02/25 10:22:15 ET

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