VALPARAISO | Playing time will be at a premium once the Horizon League season begins for Valparaiso.
Head coach Bryce Drew used Saturday's game against Purdue Calumet to see just what his players can do when the spotlight is on with fans in the stands.
The 79-51 victory was secondary to getting everyone some action and coming out of the game healthy.
Four players scored in double figures for Valpo (9-4), which improved to 7-0 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. LaVonte Dority led the way with 19 points, followed by Will Bogan with a season-best 14, Ben Boggs with 12 and Kevin Van Wijk 10 in just 17 minutes.
"Our team really worked this week on improving," Drew said. "The last three or four days we have gotten better as a team and individually, players have gotten better."
Senior guard Bogan, replaced in the starting lineup on Thursday by Matt Kenney, made 4-of-6 3-pointers.
He entered the game having made 13 of 38 (34.2 percent) from beyond the arc, but he realizes he'll have to continue shooting well to earn minutes and for Valpo to be successful in the conference season.
"It feels good to kind of turn my shooting around because it hasn't been as good as I wanted it to be," Bogan said. "It feels good to have a game where I shot the ball as well as I know I can."
A Bogan 3-pointer with 8:11 remaining in the first half gave the Crusaders a 27-15 lead. He hit another one three minutes later, and Alex Rossi made one in the final minute of the half as Valpo built a 49-25 lead by the break.
"We all know Will's an excellent shooter," Drew said. "The last three days he's had some really nice practices and continues to improve."
Dority, a transfer from South Florida who is from Chicago, made 10 of 12 free throws and continually gave the Peregrines fits while driving the lane.
He also broke through and hit a 3-pointer late in the game, after going 0-for-4 against IUPUI and missing his first two from deep against Purdue Cal.
"That was definitely a relief," Dority said. "I spent some time in the gym and I want to trust my shot.
"It was exciting playing my first couple of home games because I was really looking forward to it. It was a chance for my family to come down and watch me play."
Drew decided to not play leading scorer Ryan Broekhoff, who tweaked his ankle against IUPUI.
"We wanted to try to nip it right now and get him healthy," Drew said. "He was limited in practice on Friday, didn't have the same spring so that was an easy decision for me to try to get his ankle healthy for the conference season."
The biggest concern coming out of the game was the health of 6-foot-10 Bobby Capobianco. He went down hard on his right shoulder while scrambling for a loose ball with 2:26 remaining in the game.
Capobianco left the court in obvious pain, and had a big ice bag taped to his shoulder afterwards.
"Our doctor is looking at it," Drew said. "We'll see what he says and hopefully it's just a strain."
Purdue Cal (6-10), which defeated Purdue North Central on Friday night, was led by Warren Gordon with 16 points. Coach Dan Voudrie used 14 players, including Merrillville grad Daniel McGee (three points), Lew Wallace grad Leroy Cooper and freshman Ryan Hensen of Wheeler.