VALPARAISO | Bryce Drew expects more of the same from tonight’s second preseason contest when the Valparaiso men’s basketball team takes on NAIA Division II nationally-ranked Robert Morris.
The third-year head coach liked what he saw last week in a 69-60 victory over Hillsdale when Drew stretched the bench in the first half before settling on a smaller rotation down the stretch.
Drew is using his two exhibition games as both a dress rehearsal for the regular season and as a showcase for different lineup combinations.
“Everyone will get in during the first 10 or 12 minutes and then we’ll kind of go from there,” Drew said. “We’re looking to see who plays well together on the floor. We’re still learning how we all work together.”
Drew could reshuffle his lineup based on the availability of senior forward Bobby Capobianco. The one-time Indiana transfer has been bothered by knee soreness throughout the preseason and was limited in practice this week. Capobianco played just eight minutes in last week’s exhibition opener and didn’t play in the second half.
“Bobby has only practiced once this week,” Drew said. “We’ll hopefully find out more as we go on.”
Vashil Fernandez won’t have any limitations after taking a nasty fall in the second half against Hillsdale. The only remnants of the play where he flipped over an opponent’s back will come in the form of some wrist tape. The junior had seven points, six blocks and five rebounds in 22 minutes.
Regardless who is on the floor, Drew will be looking for a little more consistency out of the offense against the Eagles. The Crusaders started slow last week and trailed 34-29 at halftime before getting in rhythm in the second half.
“I think it took us a while to get going,” Drew said. “We talked to the guys and you could tell there were a lot of nerves there. For a lot of these guys, it was there first time in a college game.”
Valparaiso’s newcomers scored more than half of the team’s 69 points and freshman Alec Peters led the way with 17 points. Drew isn’t concerned with his young players taking anything for granted heading into their second game.
“I was proud of the way the guys competed and I think they really showed their poise,” Drew said. “I think this is a pretty self-motivated group and when they look at our schedule, they’ll be ready to play for every game.”