FORT WAYNE – When: 8 p.m. today
Records: IPFW 5-4, Valparaiso 5-2
Radio: 1380 AM
IPFW leaders: Frank Gaines (19.3 ppg), Mario Hines (6.6 rpg), Pierre Bland (2.4 apg)
Valparaiso leaders: Ryan Broekhoff (16.0 ppg), Broekhoff (7.1 rpg), Erik Buggs (4.4 apg)
Key matchup: If this turns into a free throw-shooting contest, IPFW could be in trouble. The Mastodons are last in the Summit League with a .624 free throw-shooting percentage (143 of 229). They have attempted more free throws and made more free throws than anyone in the league; it’s just that they’re not making them at a high percentage. In its last two games, IPFW is 16 of 36 from the line. Valpo, on the other hand, is shooting .764 from the stripe (120 of 157).
The skinny: Valpo’s only losses this season have been on the road – at St. Louis its last time out, 62-49, and at Nebraska, 50-48. Coached by Bryce Drew, the Crusaders start five seniors, led by the 6-7 Broekhoff and 6-8 Kevin Van Wijk, who averages 15.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. Of the four wins at home, Valparaiso’s victory margin averages 22 points. IPFW defeated Valpo last season at home, 85-76. Gaines had 24 points in that game, but four players who aren’t with the Mastodons this year – Trey McCorkle, John Peckinpaugh, Jonny Marlin and Jason Smeathers – combined for 46.