Horizon League Men's Basketball Weekly Release (Jan. 10)
Horizon League Men's Basketball Player of the Week
Cory Johnson, Valparaiso
INDIANAPOLIS – Valparasio senior forward Cory Johnson (Duluth, Minn.) has been named Horizon League Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, for the week beginning Jan. 3. The honor is the first of Johnson’s two-year career with the Crusaders.
Johnson led the Crusaders' charge into a four-way tie atop the Horizon League, as Valparaiso moved to 12-5 overall and 4-1 in the League with a 79-55 victory over Youngstown State and a 64-58 triumph over Cleveland State on Sunday. Valpo’s start to Horizon League play is the best for the school since joining the League in 2006-07.
The fifth-year senior helped break open a five-point game at the half on Thursday, scoring 26 points in the win over the visiting Penguins. Johnson finished the night 10-of-16 from the floor and converted 6-of-7 free-throw attempts to key the victory.
On Sunday, Johnson led the way back from an early 19-8 deficit, scoring 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half, pushing the Crusaders lead as high as 18 points before Valpo moved into the first-place tie with the six-point decision over the Vikings.
For the week, the Duluth, Minn.-native averaged 23.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists; Johnson knocked down 19-of-32 field goal attempts in the two-game stretch.
ESPN3.com will carry Valparaiso’s next contest, a 7 p.m. ET tip against fellow Horizon League co-leader Wright State on Friday, Jan. 14. The Crusaders will conclude their road trip at Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 16, with Fox Sports Detroit televising the 1 p.m. ET tip.
Top Performers for the Week:
Matt Howard, Butler (Sr., G) - Howard moved into seventh place on the Butler career scoring ledger, averaging 19.0 ppg as the Bulldogs moved into a tie atop the Horizon League standings with a 2-1 showing this week. The 6-foot-8 forward had 26 points against Youngstown State, giving him 1,631 for his career, while his six rebounds moved him into fifth on Butler’s career rebounding list with 732 caroms.
Ray McCallum, Detroit (Fr., G) - The freshman helped Detroit move into a four-way tie for the Horizon League lead, averaging 16.5 points and 4.5 assists as the Titans went 2-0 on the road. McCallum came up clutch down the stretch in a 72-69 win at UIC, tallying a block on the defensive end of the court and grabbing an offensive board and putback to create the game’s final margin.
Alec Brown, Green Bay (Fr., C) - Picking up his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds on Monday, Brown recorded nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks in just 16 minutes in a 69-64 win over in-state rival Milwaukee on Saturday. Brown boosted his Green Bay freshman record for blocks to 37 with six in the two games.
Ben Averkamp, Loyola (So., F) - The only Rambler to start all 17 contests this season, Averkamp averaged 11.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 3.0 apg this week, managing 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists in Loyola’s 83-71 defeat to Detroit on Thursday. The pre-med major has raised his season averages to 13.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 1.4 apg over the last three weeks.
Kaylon Williams, Milwaukee (Jr., G) - Williams posted the first triple-double in the Horizon League in over five years with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Milwaukee’s 76-52 defeat of Butler on Monday. The effort was the first triple-double for the Panthers since 1993. The junior followed up the effort with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists on Saturday.
Paul Carter, UIC (Sr., F) - Carter recorded and second and third straight double-doubles last week, averaging 16.0 ppg and 10.5 rpg. Against the Raiders, Carter scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and followed up the effort with 19 points and 10 boards in a three-point setback against Detroit.
N’Gai Evans, Wright State (Sr., G) - Evans led Wright State to its best Horizon League start since 2005-06, averaging 18.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 5.5 apg as the Raiders picked up wins at UIC and Loyola. Tied with three others at 4-1 in the League, Evans posted 21 points against the Flames in a 71-63 win and filled the stat line with 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals in a 58-41 victory over Loyola. The nine boards and five thefts were both career-best marks for Evans.
Blake Allen, Youngstown State (So., G) - The marksman exploded over the weekend, going 10-for-14 from three-point range and scoring 17 points in games at Valparaiso and Butler. Allen entered the weekend with just eight three-pointers all season, but nailed five in each contest as he hit his career-high points total both nights. The sophomore was part of a three-point shooting binge that saw Youngstown State equal the school record with 14 longballs against Butler on Sunday.