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Thursday, January 13th, 2011 - 10:17 am

Men’s Basketball Update

Impressive midseason performances
set table for strong finish

By KERRY MITCHELL
Kerry Mitchell is a local sports correspondent who frequently covers Purdue Calumet athletics.

Purdue Calumet men’s basketball coach Dan Voudrie sees certain games as cautionary tales, pointing to a conference contest against Holy Cross as a major lesson learned.

Voudrie’s Peregrines were sitting at 1-1 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Division II when a Dec. 7 visit to winless conference foe Holy Cross resulted in a 70-68 loss.

“The teams in our conference are not that far apart, and if you don’t come out ready to play from the start, then bad things are likely to happen,” he said. “Any team can stumble at any time, and the ones that are successful in this league are the ones that play come out ready to play from the start.”

Michael Patton dunking
The 6-5 Patton leads the Peregrines in rebounding and adds double figure scoring.

Since that time the Peregrines have shown a consistency of performance that has given Voudrie reason to believe that his team got the message. Four days after the Holy Cross game, Purdue Calumet visited perennial CCAC Division I contender Olivet Nazarene in a conference cross-over game. Trips to Olivet have always been hazardous treks for the Peregrines, but this one ended in a 70-63 victory, which was especially sweet for Voudrie who once previously served as an ONU assistant.

“What I liked most about that game was it showed a real maturity,” Voudrie said. “We were able to bounce back from a tough conference loss and get a win over a highly-regarded opponent.”

Another benchmark game this season was a 59-56 loss to NCAA Division 1 foe Western Illinois University on New Year’s Day.

“You like to win every game, but we took away some good things from the Western Illinois game,” Voudrie said. “We competed hard, and you could tell after the game that we felt we should have won it. The disappointment was real, and I think that showed that we really believed in ourselves.”

An 85-76 home triumph over perennial CCAC D-II power Cardinal Stritch evened the conference mark at 2-2 and positioned Purdue Calumet in a tight pack of .500 conference teams.

“It’s a long season and every team is bound to stumble along the way,” Voudrie said. “What we hope for is to finish the conference season playing well and get a first-round home game” (in the postseason tournament).

Leading the Peregrines in a balanced offensive attack have been a trio of sophomores—frontliner Kameron Bright (Ft. Wayne/Wayne HS), guard Kedrick Williams (Bloomington, IL/Normal Community HS) and guard Andrew Anderson (Gary/Merrillville HS), along with senior forwards Michael Patton (Gary/West Side HS) and Neal Hudson (Gary/Joliet JC/Hobart HS).

“I am proud of the way that Michael Patton and Neal Hudson have emerged as leaders,” Voudrie said of two of his seniors. “They have taken it upon themselves to help the younger players get used to the college game. It has been a pleasure to coach them. This entire team is filled with players of high character, and I have enjoyed coaching them. I hope that we can keep playing all the way into the national tournament.”

Regular season play continues through Feb. 19, followed by the conference tournament, the champion of which qualifies for a berth in the NAIA Division II national tournament. For more about Purdue Calumet men’s basketball, visit http://webs.purduecal.edu/basketballmen/.