Valparaiso doesn’t mind quick turnaround after falling at Youngstown State
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org January 31, 2013 11:32PM
Valparaiso's Kevin Van Wijk goes to the basket with Green Bay's Brennan Cougill defending in the second half at Valpariaso University Wednesday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
The Big Number
Valparaiso has lost two straight games zero times this season. The Crusaders have not lost back-to-back Horizon League games since Feb. 21 and 24, 2011 (at Green Bay, vs. Loyola).
Ben Boggs scored six points in 15 minutes at Youngstown State, starting the second half with Matt Kenney sidelined with a back issue. Since missing the Cleveland State game because of turf toe, the senior guard had scored five points, including going scoreless in consecutive games, in 26 minutes in his previous five games combined.
“It was more of a coach’s decision; his toe is a lot better,” Bryce Drew said. “When he was out with the toe, the guys out there got into a pretty good rhythm. But when he came into the games, he still helped us. Like I tell him, you have to be ready at any time. The good thing about him, he’s always working hard, and he’s always ready when I do put him in.”
Updated: February 8, 2013 6:25PM
First a week between games, then a day.
For Valparaiso, it’s probably just as well, to get back on the court ASAP.
After Wednesday’s 80-68 loss at Youngstown State that tightened the Horizon League standings, the still-first-place Crusaders play last-place Milwaukee on Friday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
“It’s been a hectic day,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew, whose team’s six-game win streak was stopped, said on Thursday. “It’s definitely a quick turnaround.
“We weren’t thrilled with our performance last night, and tomorrow’s a great opportunity to get back at it, and do some things better.”
At or near the top of the list would be shooting the ball. Valparaiso (16-6, 6-2 Horizon League) went 3-of-20 from 3-point range. The Crusaders also went 19-of-31 from the foul line.
“We had some really good looks, and they just didn’t go down,” Drew said. “It’ll be nice to be back in our own gym.”
Whether they will have Matt Kenney available at the ARC remains to be seen. The senior guard’s status for the game against the Panthers (5-17, 1-7) was uncertain because of a back problem, and he likely was going to be a game-time decision.
Kenney went to the doctor on Thursday, after playing just six minutes at Youngstown. His back has been bothering him, and it came to a head the morning after Valparaiso’s win against Green Bay; he had not practiced since that game against the Phoenix.
“Even if he does play, his rhythm probably will be a little off,” Drew said. The Crusaders routed the Panthers on Jan. 12 in Milwaukee, 76-52, matching their most lopsided win since joining the Horizon League, and posting their largest margin of victory in a conference road game since a 74-42 result at Chicago State on Jan. 21, 1999. Milwaukee has lost four straight games, including 76-65 at Loyola on Wednesday, a game in which the Ramblers scored 20 consecutive points during a second-half stretch. The Panthers have dropped 12 straight road games, including going 0-10 this season.
“We know it’s going to be very physical, and very competitive,” Drew said. “They easily could’ve won a lot of games where they came up just short. They’re a dangerous team.”