IPFW held the top team in the Summit League without a basket for nearly 13 minutes Thursday at the Gates Sports Center, yet its poor play before that resulted in the Mastodons being in too big a hole to get out of.
The Mastodons held Western Illinois without a field goal for the final 12:49 of the game, and without a point for the final 8:35 of the game, but a 12-point deficit was too much to overcome in the 43-40 defeat.
Mario Hines scored a game-high 13 points, hitting 6-of-7 shots from the field, while Luis Jacobo and Frank Gaines each scored eight. Hines pulled down seven rebounds, with Gaines grabbing six, as the Mastodons outrebounded Western Illinois 28-26.
The 43 points allowed are the fewest against an NCAA Division I team since holding SIU Edwardsville to 40 on February 23, 2010 at the Coliseum. Earlier this season IPFW kept Judson University, an NAIA school, to just 22 points, a single-game school record.
The Mastodons got on the board first with a three-pointer from Jacobo, before the visitors ran off a 15-1 run to push ahead 15-4.
IPFW immediately ran off seven straight points, capped by a three-pointer from Michael Kibiloski, and closed to as few as one on a pair of Gaines free throws at 19-18; however, the Leathernecks closed the half on a 5-2 run to take a 24-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Mastodons kept the game within two possessions through the first seven minutes of the second half; trailing by five at 34-29, before the visitors scored nine of the next 11 points to push the margin to a dozen at 43-31.
Jack Houpt hit a three-pointer with 12:49 to play to provide the last Western Illinois (16-4, 8-1 SL) field goal, and when the visitors pushed the lead to 12, with 8:35 to play, they would not score again in the contest. The Leathernecks missed on all seven of their field goal attempts, and both free throw tries, each coming on the front end of a one-and-the bonus.
IPFW closed the game on a 9-0 run, getting four points from Joe Edwards down the stretch, including a running lay-in with 1:34 that cut the gap to a single basket at 43-40.
The Mastodons came up empty on their first chance to try, and a Jacobo three-pointer with five seconds left rimmed in and out, securing the Western Illinois victory.
IPFW (9-13, 2-6) hit 15-of-43 shots from the field (34.9 percent), scoring the team's fewest points since they scored 36 in a loss at Illinois State on December 6, 2005. Western Illinois went 14-of-39 from the field, and just 5-of-20 in the second half.
Ceola Clark scored 11 points for Western Illinois, with Remy Roberts-Burnett scored 10, as each had eight in the first half. Adam Link pulled down seven rebounds, while Clark dished out three assists.
The Mastodons will host IUPUI at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Gates Sports Center.