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VU ready to bounce back

Valparaiso's Lavonte Dority shoots over Loyola's Nick Osborne Jeff White first half Valparaiso University Wednesday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times

Valparaiso's Lavonte Dority shoots over Loyola's Nick Osborne and Jeff White in the first half at Valparaiso University Wednesday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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The Big Number

LaVonte Dority made one field goal against Loyola. It came with just 8.8 seconds left, on his seventh attempt, though he did go 8-of-8 from the foul line to finish with 10 points.

“It’s his first conference game, and he’s very aggressive with the ball — he can make a lot of plays with the ball,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. “Some days the plays are going your way, some days they aren’t; it seemed like he had a couple not go his way early, and really couldn’t get a rhythm going after that. It’s only his sixth game with us, so he’s going to get better. He’s a competitor, so I’m sure he’ll be ready to go on Friday.”

The Bonus

Kevin Van Wijk landed hard on his back less than two minutes into the Loyola game, then absorbed another shot early in the second half. He returned both times, and was expected to be OK for the Cleveland State game.

“He was kind of protecting it (his back) the rest of the game,” Drew said. “He’s really good about taking care of his body. He’ll probably be sore (on Thursday), but Rod Moore, our trainer, is excellent, so hopefully he’ll have him ready to go for Friday 100 percent.”

Today’s Game

Cleveland State
at Valparaiso

When: 6 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

VALPARAISO — No time for Valparaiso to wallow, even on the off-chance it was so inclined.

After Wednesday’s 63-54 setback to Loyola in a Horizon League opener, the Crusaders are back at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Friday night against Cleveland State, with the game televised by ESPNU.

Valparaiso (10-5, 0-1 Horizon League) began its preparation for the Vikings (8-6, 0-0) immediately after the unexpected loss to the Ramblers.

“The great thing about conference season is there’s 16 games and every one means the same. … We can’t dwell on this one too long,” Crusaders coach Bryce Drew said.

Cleveland State plays its conference opener against Valparaiso after a 72-55 home loss to Kent State on Wednesday.

The Vikings suffered a serious blow when sophomore forward Anton Grady injured his knee on Nov. 20, requiring surgery. The initial diagnosis was that he would be sidelined at least six-to-eight weeks, and he could miss the rest of the season, having averaged 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds in six games.

Sophomore point guard Charlie Lee currently leads the Vikings with 12.9 points and 4.9 assists. Forward Tim Kamczyc, the team’s only senior, adds 10.0 points, and three other players average at least 8.3.

The Crusaders are 7-1 at the ARC this season, and the Vikings are 1-5 on the road, winning at Ball State.

“Cleveland State’s an excellent team,” said Drew, whose team swept the Vikings last season. “… We don’t have a very long turnaround, and it’s going to be a totally, completely different style than what we saw (against Loyola). They’re going to defend us differently, they’re going to attack us differently on offense, so it’s going to be a totally different prep the next 48 hours to get ready for them.”

Around the rim: Valparaiso trails 28-11 in the all-time series against Cleveland State. The Crusaders are 4-7 since they joined the Horizon League, but their four wins have come in the last six games, with three of those at the ARC. … Valparaiso also lost its conference home opener last season, to Milwaukee, before going 8-0 the rest of the way. … The Crusaders’ 35.7 percent shooting against Loyola was their worst at home since a 35.2 percent performance in a 68-48 loss to the Ramblers on Feb. 24, 2011. … The Vikings have used five different starting lineups this season, with nine players getting at least one start, and Lee, Kamczyc and sophomore forward Marlin Mason having gotten the call in every game.



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