Ranked opponent makes rare trip to Valparaiso
Valparaiso, IN (Sports Network) – Valparaiso hosts a ranked foe for just the
second time in the last nine years, as eighth-ranked Marquette invades the
Athletics-Recreation Center this evening for a non-conference clash.
Marquette has opened the season with six consecutive victories, five
of which have come by double figures. Without question, the most
impressive victory came on Tuesday, as the Golden Eagles recorded a 73-62
decision over Duke in the championship game of the CBE Classic. Aside from
a clash with Wisconsin in two weeks, the non-league schedule looks
favorable from this point on.
As for Valparaiso, it opened the season with three consecutive
victories before finally falling to NC State Tuesday, 78-64. Prior to
that lackluster offensive showing, the Crusaders had tallied at least 70
points in every game they had played.
Marquette holds a 20-5 series edge over Valpo, including a 69-54 victory over
the Crusaders last season.
Dominic James proved that he is one of the most dynamic guards in the nation
in Marquette’s win over Duke, as the standout scored 25 points while also
dishing out seven assists against one turnover. Jerel McNeal added 17 points
to help out the Golden Eagles, who turned the ball over only nine times in the
clash. Strong defense was another key to the victory, as Marquette limited the
Blue Devils to 37.7 percent shooting from the floor. Through six outings,
James is scoring 18.0 ppg to go along with 4.3 apg. McNeal is also dishing out
4.3 apg, and he is netting 14.0 ppg while recording a stellar 4.0 spg.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers is Wesley Matthews with 11.8 ppg.
Marquette is averaging 79.5 ppg, while limiting opponents to 60.5 ppg on 41
percent shooting from the floor.
Valparaiso is scoring 73.2 ppg on 46.9 percent shooting from the floor,
including 42.3 percent from three-point range. Defensively, the Crusaders are
limiting their foes to 67.0 ppg on 38.5 percent shooting from the field,
including a mere 23.5 percent from three-point range. Urule Igbavboa leads
Valpo in scoring with 15.3 ppg, and he is tops on the boards as well (11.5
rpg). Shawn Huff is the only other double-digit scorer for the club (14.3
ppg). In the loss to NC State last time out, the Crusaders connected on only
36.7 percent of their field goal attempts and misfired on eight of their 19
free throw attempts. Huff and Samuel Haanpaa scored 14 points apiece in the
loss, and Igbavboa pitched in 10 points and eight boards.