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IPFW wants to avoid being 'shot down' by rival

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at Tom101010.

Mastodons have to control Jaguar shooters tonight

Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 3:32 am

The last time that IUPUI played a game, it sank 11 three-pointers and walked out of Ball State's Worthen Arena with a victory.

That is what the Jaguars are capable of, despite having a 5-10 record. It's that potential that has IPFW men's basketball coach Tony Jasick concerned.

The two Summit League programs will battle tonight at 7 p.m. at Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (ESPN 1380-AM).

“When I look at their team, they've gone as they shoot the ball,” Jasick said. “We have to do a really good job of not letting them get the shots that they want.”

So far this season, the Mastodons (6-7) have been consistent in that approach. Jasick's team leads the Summit League in three-point field goal percentage from its opponents.

“We've been pretty good,” Jasick said. “Defensively, we've been one of the better teams in the country.”

What IPFW hasn't been, however, is one of the healthier teams in the country.

For a variety of reasons, players such as Frank Gaines, Kevin Harden, Joe Reed, Mike Kibiloski, and Herbert Graham have each missed time. All are expected to be able to play tonight, but if you want to look at the positive side of that, the Mastodons' depth has been strengthened due to other guys being forced into action.

“Our defense has kept us in every game,” Jasick said. “I really like the fight in our team.”

Harden missed Friday's win over Kennesaw State, while Gaines struggled defensively against Notre Dame. Those two, along with fellow guards Isaiah McCray, Pierre Bland, forward Luis Jacobo, and Graham, if he is healthy enough to get past a lingering stomach ailment, have to do a good job of controlling Jaguar perimeter threats such as Purdue transfer John Hart (14 points per game), Sean Esposito (20 points against Ball State), and Jordan Shanklin (23 three-point attempts).

“If we are going to be good in our league,” Jasick explained, “it has to start at the defensive end of the floor. We've seen this season that we can't win games 90-88. If we can keep frustrating people (offensively), then we've got a chance to be pretty good.”