IPFW went on a furious second-half rally to cut a 16-point North Dakota State men's basketball lead down to just three; however, the Bison closed the game strongly, ending the contest on a 10-1 run to claim a 67-55 Summit League victory Thursday at the Bison Sports Arena.
Luis Jacobo scored a game-high 21 points, hitting 5-of-12 from long range, while Frank Gaines scored a dozen and Joe Edwards eight. Mario Hines and Michael Kibiloski each scored a half dozen in the loss. Hines pulled down a team-best seven rebounds, with Jacobo, Isaiah McCray, and Pierre Bland each giving out a trio of assists.
Mario Hines got things going for IPFW (8-10, 1-3 Summit) in the game when he put home a tip-dunk on the game's first possession; however, the host Bison ran off a 9-2 run to lead 9-4 with 15:33 to play in the half.
The North Dakota State (14-3, 5-0 Summit) lead grew to as many as six after a Mike Felt lay-in, but the Mastodons fought back, and took a three-point lead with 7:54 to play after Jacobo scored nine straight IPFW points in three consecutive possessions.
The Dons led by one after Jacobo's third three-pointer of the half, but that would be the last lead of the half, as the Bison ran off six straight points, and took a five-point, 37-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Bison came out firing in the second half, scoring 13 of the first 15 points of the period to push to a 50-34 lead six and a half minutes into the stanza.
Trailing by its largest margin of the game, the Mastodons responded by getting three straight three pointers, two from Michael Kibiloski and the third from Jacobo, closing the gap to seven at 50-43 with 11:34 remaining on the clock.
The Mastodons fought back to within as few as three at 57-54 with 4:07 to play after Jacobo's fifth and final three-point basket, as the Bison went 4-of-6 from the field over the final four minutes to secure the 12-point win.
IPFW went 20-of-53 from the field in the loss, while converting on 10-of-26 from long range, and 5-of-9 from the charity stripe. McCray had a game-high three steals, while Gaines added a pair.
IPFW dished out 13 assists as a team against just eight turnovers, but the Mastodons were out-rebounded 32-to-25 by the Bison, who hit 57.1 percent (28-of-49) from the field, 4-of-15 from long range, and 7-of-10 on free throws.
The Mastodons will travel to South Dakota State on Saturday at 5 p.m.