On Campus: Joe Crisman contributing to Loyola’s resurgence
By John Mutka Post-Tribune senior correspondent December 24, 2012 4:20PM
Updated: January 26, 2013 6:18AM
Loyola fans are pumped up over an 8-3 start and with good reason. Less than halfway through their schedule, the Ramblers have already bettered last year’s 7-23 record.
After bonding during a four-game trip to Italy in August — they went 3-1 — the defensive-oriented Ramblers have won six of their last seven games, including a victory over Mississippi State, and have limited seven opponents to 51 points or less.
Munster’s Joe Crisman has started every game and is averaging 5.6 points. He has connected on half his shots (24/48), but his average would be higher with improved free throw shooting. Crisman is only 7-for-13 at the line.
The Ramblers open Horizon League play at Valparaiso on Jan. 2.
A porous defense (75.4 ppg) is responsible for St. Joseph’s 2-and-5 record, but the Pumas are holding their own on the boards with the help of Danilo Zekovic (Munster). The 6-5 freshman is making the most of limited minutes off the bench, his 3.2 rebounding average ranking among the team leaders.
Senior captain Mike Lipton (Crown Point) recently scored 10 points, nearly doubling his 5.3 average. He is shooting 78.9 percent from the line and is second in steals with 15.
Indianapolis is 8-and-0 and ranked No. 11 in Division II. Ball State transfer Tyrae Robinson (Gary/Bowman) is shooting 65.2 percent from the field and is averaging 8.6 points for the Greyhounds. He dished out four assists in a recent victory over Ferris State.
IUPUI’s Claire Holba (Chesterton) has connected on six of nine shots. The 6-1 reserve bagged highs of 10 points and four rebounds against Goshen.
Notre Dame has won 10 in a row since an overtime loss to St. Joseph’s. Scott Martin (Valparaiso) is supplying leadership for the once-beaten Irish. The sixth-year senior is connecting on a team-leading 44.7 percent from the arc. Martin is averaging 8.5 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Rose-Hulman’s 10-1 start is its best since 1990. Using a smothering defense, the Engineers have held six opponents to 45 points or less. Alec Houpt (Chesterton) has seen action in nine games. He has swished 54 percent of his shots and is averaging 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Rose-Hulman career rushing leader Kyle Kovach (Munster/Andrean) played for the North in the annual Division III Classic. He carried three times and returned a kickoff 15 yards.
Kovach’s 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of an early 29-28 victory over Kalamazoo was recently voted the Heartland Conference play of the year in a survey. He finished with career totals of 6,134 all-purpose yards and 39 touchdowns despite injuries which tempered his senior season.
Purdue’s Tommy Churchard (Valparaiso) is off to a 14-3 start at 157 pounds. The redshirt senior leads the Boilermakers with nine reversals and was 4-and-0 in the Northeast duals.
Also on the roster are Kyle Ayersman (Dyer/Lake Central), a 133-pound freshman; and Frank Porras (Hobart), a 149-pound sophomore.
Indiana’s Eric Roach (Crown Point) is competing at 141 pounds. The redshirt freshman’s 13-6 record includes seven dual victories.