Four times in its initial five men’s basketball games, IPFW has had to battle to the final seconds to decide the outcome. Perhaps the Mastodons are learning from the trying experiences. After dropping two of its first three games by a single point, IPFW earned its second straight narrow victory on Sunday, as it held off Tennessee Tech 69-66 in the final game of the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Mastodon senior forward Luis Jacobo paced his team with 20 points and 10 boards, while Michael Kibiloski and Steve Forbes each added nine points in the victory.
IPFW got eight points apiece from guard Joe Edwards and forward Joe Reed, while Kibiloski and Reed each pulled down four rebounds.
Mastodon senior guard Pierre Bland dished out six assists and backcourt mate Isaiah McCray passed for five.
IPFW (3-2) held a four-point advantage in the first half, but stretched it to 15, as Jacobo buried a 3-point shot with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The Golden Eagles battled back to trim their deficit to 32-26 at halftime, but the Mastodons extended the margin to 57-46 with just over seven minutes left in the game. But Tennessee Tech wouldn’t go away.
The Golden Eagles cut the IPFW lead to 57-56 with a 10-0 run over a two-minute stretch, but following a lay-in from Edwards, Tennessee Tech got a 3-point play courtesy of a Mastodon foul to tie the game at 59.
Jacobo, Reed and McCray fueled a 6-0 IPFW tear, as it held a 67-61 lead, but Tennessee Tech answered with five consecutive points to trim the score to 67-66.
Bland hit a free throw before the Mastodon defense forced an Eagle miss and they grabbed the McCray grabbed the rebound to seal the victory with another free throw.
The Mastodons hit 28-of-52 shots from the field (53.8 percent), and 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) from long range, but struggled from the charity stripe, hitting just 7-of-17 free throws (41.2 percent).
IPFW will host Purdue-Calumet Wednesday at the Gates Sports Center (ESPN 1380-AM 7 p.m.).