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VU looks to bounce back

Updated: January 6, 2013 10:02AM



Not that Valparaiso’s loss at Saint Louis was a bad one. Far from it. But that doesn’t mean the Crusaders (5-2) probably aren’t anxious to get back on the court after suffering their second loss of the season, both on the road to worthy opponents.

After hopping on the bus following Sunday’s game against the inspired Billikens, they play IPFW (5-4) on Wednesday at the Athletics-Recreation Center.

“We have to get better,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said after the Saint Louis game. “We just have to keep improving. We play non-conference games so we can learn and we can get a lot better, and we can definitely learn from this game and get a lot better from it.

“Our players were excited to play. We came out and played well to start the game, and we played well the last seven minutes of the game. But in between, we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing.”

Valparaiso is 8-3 all-time against IPFW, but the Mastodons actually have won three of the last four games in the series with Crusaders, including 85-76 last season in Fort Wayne. IPFW shot 60.8 percent from the field in that game, with All-Summit League guard Frank Gaines scoring 24 points. The senior is averaging 19.3 points this season for the Mastodons — who are coming off a Saturday win against Miami (Ohio), getting a basket in the waning seconds to complete a comeback from a 14-point second-half deficit — under second-year coach Tony Jasick.

“They’ve given us a lot of problems in the past,” Drew said. “We have a very tall task in front of us. We have to come out ready to play on Wednesday.”

Around the rim: In its two losses, at Nebraska and Saint Louis, Valparaiso shot 7-of-36 (19.4 percent) from 3-point range, including 5-of-21 against the Billikens. … VU is 4-0 at the ARC this season.



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