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IPFW defense absent late in league loss

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

Omaha shoots 78 percent in second half

Friday, February 1, 2013 - 6:38 am

Omaha connected on 78 percent of its field goals (18 of 23) over the final 20 minutes of play Thursday to rally for a 86-79 Summit League men's basketball win over IPFW at the Ralston Arena.

The Mastodons held a five-point halftime cushion, but the Mavericks outscored the visitors 50-38 in the final half.

Frank Gaines tied his career-high with 32 points to pace IPFW, while Luis Jacobo scored 16 and Michael Kibiloski 12. Gaines pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Isaiah McCray dished out five assists.

Omaha hit 32-of-51 (62.7 percent) on the game. IPFW shot a solid 42.2 percent (27-of-64) from the field, and 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from long range.

The Mavericks jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, before the Mastodons ran off a 12-2 run, capped by a pair of free throw by Gaines, to push ahead to a six-point, 12-6 lead. Omaha immediately followed with an 8-0 run, to re-take the lead at 14-12.

The lead traded hands seven more times over the next seven minutes, before IPFW rattled off nine straight points, including back-to-back three-pointers from Jacobo and Kibiloski to take IPFW to a seven-point, 39-32 lead. The gap was cut to five, but that would be as close as the hosts would come in the half, as IPFW took a 41-36 lead into the locker room at halftime.

IPFW's lead grew to as many as nine with IPFW scoring the first four points of the second half on a jumper from Kibiloski and a lay-in from Gaines; however, Omaha answered back with a 10-0 run to take a one-point lead at 46-456 with 15:43 to play.

The Mastodons re-took the lead on two separate occasions after Omaha tied the game, and IPFW had a two-point, 50-48 lead with 13:44 to play, before Omaha ran off a 9-2 streak over the next minute to take a five-point lead.

IPFW would tie the game for the ninth and final time with 9:40 to play at 60-60; but an immediate 4-0 run, and later an 8-2 streak pushed the hosts ahead by as many as 10 with six and a half minutes to play.

The Dons fought back and closed the gap to three at 82-79 after a Jacobo triple, and a defensive stop followed; however a missed lay-in, and four straight free throws made by Omaha sent the Mastodons to the seven-point loss.

IPFW outrebounded Omaha 34-to-27, and had 13 assists against 11 turnovers, the 10th time in the last 15 games that the Mastodons had an even or better ratio.

IPFW pulled off 10 steals, as Gaines and McCray each had three, with Jacobo and McCray each blocking a shot.

Justin Simmons scored a team-high 23 points, 22 of those coming in the second half, while Marcus Tyus scored 22, 16 of those in the first 20 minutes of action.

The Mastodons will host South Dakota State on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum.