And the IPFW train just keeps on rolling…
There was no hotter men’s basketball squad entering the Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D. this weekend than the Mastodons. Tony Jasick’s team had closed its regular season with five consecutive victories, which was the most in his two years of leading the program.
Now that mark has reached six.
IPFW clobbered Oakland (16-16) with unselfish play and spectacular shooting to open the postseason with a resounding 91-72 win.
The Mastodons (16-16) advance to play top-seed South Dakota State (23-9) today at 7 p.m. (EDT).
“Congratulate Fort Wayne,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe said in a release. “They played one whale of a basketball game. They beat us three times in 18 days; I think the better of the two team’s advances that should have advanced."
IPFW opened the game on a tear by sinking 9 of its 13 first-half 3-point shots and led at one point by as many as 18. However, Jasick was impressed with the play of his team at the other end of the court.
“I felt like all three games we did a good job of limiting (Oakland’s Travis Bader),” Jasick said. “On the flip side, we shot pretty well; we shot 63 percent. It is all about sharing the ball.”
The Mastodons certainly did that well.
“I just think being unselfish, sharing the ball, getting touches inside,” Jasick continued. “I feel like we have a bunch of guys that can make shots. When we have 20 assists on 30 baskets (like tonight), we are pretty good. If we can do that again, I think we have a good shot."
IPFW finished the game with a dozen made 3-pointers, which was the fourth-highest total in tournament history. It also worked hard enough to pound the Grizzlies 44-26 on the glass.
"They really came out and wanted to beat us, and they did,” Bader said. “Tonight they came out and for some reason we didn't come out with that same energy and desire to win."
Frank Gaines paced the Mastodons with 23 points, while Luis Jacobo notched a double-double with 18 points and a dozen boards.
"What I essentially wanted to do was try to take Jacobo out of the game because he was the guy I thought hurt us in the other two games,” Kampe said. “Frank Gaines is going to get his. (Jacobo) came out and hit his first four threes; it didn't look like we took him out of the game. They are off to a very hot start and played like a team with purpose and we played like a team that was just playing another game."
IPFW forward Michael Kibiloski added 15 points and five boards, while Joe Edwards (nine points), Pierre Bland (five assists), and Mario Hines (nine points, six rebounds) also contributed.
"I think with their offense, they play at a slow pace and go around, go around and all of a sudden a guy catches the ball, goes like this and shoots it,” Kampe said. “You kind of lull into that defensively (and) I thought when we got back into the game we created our own tempo by going full court against them and picking up the pace and taking them out of that comfort of just dribbling the ball around. The problem for us is we are not really deep and that is going to wear you out and I thought it did. We had to do it to get back into the game. They just did a real nice job of running their offense.”