Milwaukee - WI - The Valparaiso Crusaders boast the Horizon League's highest scoring player in Alec Peters (6'9''-F-95), but it's been the Valparaiso defense that has been mostly responsible for the Crusaders entering their Thursday night game against the Milwaukee Panthers with a league-best 8-1 record.
Entering the game allowing just 63 points per game, best in the Horizon League, the Crusaders held the Panthers to ten points below their scoring against average in running their conference record to 9-1 by defeating the Panthers 71-53.
'We've had success for a long time here being a defensive team,' said Valparaiso Coach Matt Lottich. 'As long as I'm here, that's going to be a priority.'
'If a team doesn't score as much as we do, we win the ball game,' said Peters. 'We have that focus for every single game. It's a team effort, not just one person stopping one guy.'
Valparaiso starts an imposing front line of the 6-9 Peters, 6-7 Shane Hammink and 7-2 Derrik Smits. When Smits goes to the bench for a rest, the Crusaders lose very little in the height department with the insertion of 6-11 Jaume Sorolla. That is a huge front line by Horizon League standards and provides great rim protection for the Crusaders.
With Valparaiso clinging to a 21-19 lead with just over four minutes left in the first half, the Crusaders tightened their defensive screws and held the Panthers scoreless for the remainder of the first half to take a 26-19 lead into halftime. Valparaiso continued its stingy ways by holding Milwaukee scoreless for the first three-plus minutes of the second half as part of a 23-4 run over a 13 minute stretch spanning both halves. With the conclusion of that run, Valparaiso had built a comfortable 44-23 lead and was on its way to the win.
The Crusaders were led offensively, as they have for most of the season, by Peters, who tested the NBA draft waters after last season before deciding to return to Valparaiso for his senior season. With scouts from the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers in Milwaukee to scout Peters, the Horizon League's preseason player of the year scored a game-high 22 points.
Peters' game starts behind the three-point arc where his feathery jump shot is his calling card. He shoots primarily off the catch from distance with textbook shooting mechanics and pure rotation. Peters got it going early on Thursday night knocking down his first two attempts from behind the three-point arc. He made two more triples in the second half to finish with a four-for-five shooting night from behind the arc. After not visiting the free throw line at all in the first half, Peters went to the line eight times in the second half and drained all eight attempts to improve upon the impressive .902 free throw shooting mark he brought with him into the game.
Peters misfired on all five of his midrange shots in the first half. He shoots in the midrange off one-dribble moves and out of post-ups. But like most good scorers, Peters was not deterred by his midrange misfires in the first half. 'You can't lose your focus,' he said. 'If you start hesitating, you get yourself into a little bit of a funk. If shots aren't falling, maybe attack the basket a little more.'
Valparaiso also received double-digit scoring nights from freshman Micah Bradford and senior Hammink. Carrying a 3.5 points per game average into the game, Bradford put up a career-high 14 points by knocking down 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc and also contributing five rebounds to the Crusaders' 34-24 rebounding advantage. 'Micah has stayed the course. It's not a surprise that he's been playing well,' said Lottich.
Hammink is one of three Crusaders who can boast of a father not only with NBA experience, but a father taken in the first round of the NBA draft. Hammink's father, Geert, was a 1993 pick of the Orlando Magic who went on to play parts of three seasons in the NBA. Smits' father, Rik, played his entire 12-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers after being drafted by the club in 1988. Chandler Levingston Simon, a 6-7 freshman, claims Cliff Levingston, an 11-year NBA veteran drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1982, as his father.
Hammink started his career at LSU before transferring to Valparaiso. A left-hand dominant player to give defenses a different look, Hammink scores mostly in the midrange and at the rim driving primarily to his left to explore scoring opportunities off the bounce. He entered the game with a Horizon League ninth-best scoring average of 15.5 points per game and scored 12 against the Panthers.
Cody Wichmann led the scoring for Milwaukee with a 17-point night. But he had to work for his points and needed 16 shots to score his 17 points. Entering the game as Milwaukee's leading scorer at just under 13 points per game, Wichmann found finding rhythm against the Valparaiso defense very difficult and did not dent the scoring column until the ten-minute mark of the second half. In addition to holding Wichmann scoreless in the first half, the Valparaiso defense limited Brock Stull, Milwaukee's second leading scorer, to only two first-half points.
The Valparaiso game notes are stuffed with seasonal and career highlights of Peters, but perhaps his most impressive achievement is joining a group of about 50 players who established career scoring and rebounding records at their respective schools. In the basketball hotbed that is the state of Indiana, only Larry Bird of Indiana State and Luke Harangody of Notre Dame have posted more points and rebounds at a D-1 school.
Valparaiso continues its trek through the state of Wisconsin when it travels north to play Green Bay on February 4. Milwaukee concludes a two-game homestand also on February 4 when it hosts Illinois-Chicago.
Coastal Carolina cruises to 91-81 win over Wyoming in Game 1 of CBI Championship - 15 hours ago
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Coastal Carolina is one step closer to a CBI Championship after earning a 91-81 Game 1 win over Wyoming at the HTC Center. The Sun Belt squad has been impressive this postseason, winning the first three games this tournament by an average margin of 12 points per game. The offense was dominant once again to take an early advantage in the best-of-three-game final. Coastal Carolina used some quality balance to light up the scoreboard, finishing with six players in double figures in the win.... [read more]
Coastal Carolina is one step closer to a CBI Championship after earning a 91-81 Game 1 win over Wyoming at the HTC Center. The Sun Belt squad has been impressive this postseason, winning the first three games this tournament by an average margin of 12 points per game. The offense was dominant once again to take an early advantage in the best-of-three-game final. Coastal Carolina used some quality balance to light up the scoreboard, finishing with six players in double figures in the win. Jaylen Shaw (6'1''-G) didn't have his best shooting night at 6-of-15 but helped the team by filling up the stat sheet. He ended the game with 15 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and only one turnover. Jason McManamen (6'5''-G-94) had a game-high 19 points for Wyoming before fouling out. Alan Herndon (6'9''-F-94) also played a big role, especially on the defensive end with five blocks. His work in the post was key in helping the Cowboys stay competitive in the second half. However, 15 turnovers and a 46-34 rebounding deficit helped contribute to the loss. On the plus side, the next two contests will be at Wyoming as the squad tries to bring home a CBI title. Coastal Carolina took full advantage of the home court in the early going, taking a 18-6 lead in the first six minutes and continuing to build distance going into halftime. This late three for Wyoming helped prevent the score from being double digits after the first half. As it was, the Chanticleers were still up 44-35 through 20 minutes of game time. The second half was more of the same with the home team consistently making shots to stay ahead. Although Wyoming was able to cut the lead down to six a few times, a 9-2 run helped the Chanticleers pull away. They weren't flawless down the stretch, but they made enough free throws to hold on for the 10-point victory. The teams will face off again in Game 2 Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET in Wyoming. If necessary, a third game will be played as a tiebreaker Friday night at 7 p.m. ET. In order for there to be a third game, however, the Cowboys will have to play much better defense next time out. Courtesy of: bleacherreport.com
Akron's Keith Dambrot taking Duquesne coaching job - 16 hours ago
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Duquesne has agreed to a seven-year deal with Akron head coach Keith Dambrot , multiple sources told ESPN. Dambrot, 58, has been the head coach at Akron since 2004 -- and has taken the Zips to the NCAA tournament four times and to the NIT on five occasions. Dambrot's departure was officially announced by Akron, which released a statement Monday night thanking him "for the enormous contributions'' and saying "we wish him well as he moves along.'' Dambrot will replace Jim Ferry, who was 60-... [read more]
Duquesne has agreed to a seven-year deal with Akron head coach Keith Dambrot , multiple sources told ESPN. Dambrot, 58, has been the head coach at Akron since 2004 -- and has taken the Zips to the NCAA tournament four times and to the NIT on five occasions. Dambrot's departure was officially announced by Akron, which released a statement Monday night thanking him "for the enormous contributions'' and saying "we wish him well as he moves along.'' Dambrot will replace Jim Ferry, who was 60-97 in five seasons at Duquesne. Dambrot coached LeBron James during his first two seasons at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. After losing to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, the Cavaliers star got the news that his former coach was leaving Akron. "I support everything that Coach D do. He's paid more dues than any other coach in Akron history," James said. "He got a seven-year deal? He probably got a pay raise, too. He's going to have to take me to lunch when I get back." Dambrot spent 13 seasons at Akron, compiling a 305-139 record. He has turned down other coaching jobs in the past to stay at Akron. Akron said it will immediately launch a national search for a new coach. Courtesy of: espn.com
Quinnipiac to name Baker Dunleavy new men's basketball coach - 1 day ago
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Quinnipiac will hire Baker Dunleavy as its next head coach, according to multiple sources. Dunleavy has spent the past four seasons as associate head coach at Villanova. He helped the Wildcats win a national championship in 2016 under head coach Jay Wright . Dunleavy replaces Tom Moore, who was fired earlier in the month after 10 seasons at the helm. Dunleavy, 34, is the son of former longtime NBA head coach and current Tulane head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. He played at Villanova in the ea... [read more]
Quinnipiac will hire Baker Dunleavy as its next head coach, according to multiple sources. Dunleavy has spent the past four seasons as associate head coach at Villanova. He helped the Wildcats win a national championship in 2016 under head coach Jay Wright . Dunleavy replaces Tom Moore, who was fired earlier in the month after 10 seasons at the helm. Dunleavy, 34, is the son of former longtime NBA head coach and current Tulane head coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr. He played at Villanova in the early 2000s alongside stars such as Allan Ray, Randy Foye and Jason Fraser, helping the team to the Sweet 16 as a junior. After graduating from Villanova in 2006, Dunleavy worked for Merrill Lynch before joining the Villanova staff as director of basketball operations. He was later elevated to assistant coach, then associate head coach. In the latter role, Dunleavy's responsibilities included on-court teaching, player development and recruiting. Dunleavy, who interviewed for the position on March 19, gets the job over a group of candidates that included former Quinnipiac star guard Jared Grasso, who's now associate head coach at Iona and Hamden native, former Quinnipiac assistant and current Southern Connecticut head coach Scott Burrell. Others believed to be targeted by Quinnipiac included Vermont head coach John Becker, Xavier associate head coach Travis Steele, Robert Morris head coach Andrew Toole and Albany head man Will Brown. A press conference is expected to officially introduce Dunleavy on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon. Dunleavy brings national championship pedigree and experience under one of the more respected head coaches in the game, not to mention a name that carries plenty of weight in the basketball world. He has no head coaching experience, of course. And while he inherits a strong, young roster that is slated to bring back its top three scorers from a year ago (including MAAC rookie of the year Mikey Dixon), Dunleavy may have to work hard to keep those players with the program. Grasso, a talented recruiter who has already secured a commitment from Hamden's own C.J. Seaforth for next season, was an assistant at the school for one season and is in its athletics Hall of Fame. He would have jumped at the opportunity to land what would have been a dream job. Same with Burrell, whose interview was this past Thursday, March 23. Burrell may have been hurt by his ties to Moore, for whom he was an assistant for eight years, but he has established himself as the head coach at SCSU, taking the Owls to the NCAA Division II tournament the past two seasons. Courtesy of: nhregister.com
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