IPFW senior guard Pierre Bland has been very good this season, however, he took excellence on the basketball court to an extreme in Sunday’s 76-66 Mastodon victory at Kennesaw State.
Bland connected on all seven of his field goal attempts, all eight of his free throws, and he grabbed six rebounds. Oh, and for good measure, he passed out six assists while also scoring a career-best 23 points.
The victory improved IPFW to 5-2, which is the program’s second-best start at the NCAA Division I era. The Mastodons’ two losses are by a combined two points.
IPFW raced out to a 5-0 lead, and ultimately never trailed in the game. The Mastodons held a 17-5 lead, but the Owls responded with an 8-0 run to trim their deficit to 17-13 with 10 minutes remaining in the opening half.
Not to be outdone, IPFW took off on a 10-0 tear, capped by Bland’s 3-point play. IPFW took a 40-29 lead into the locker room, and kept that momentum going through the early portion of the second half, as it scored the period’s first six points.
The Mastodons led by as many as 21 points in the second half, before Kennesaw State finished the game on a 15-4 run.
IPFW sophomore forward Joe Reed scored 16 points and six boards, while senior forward Luis Jacobo added 11 points.
The Mastodons outrebounded the Owls 34-30, including seven from guard Isaiah McCray.
The victory was the Mastodons’ fourth straight, and it was the third time this season that IPFW did not trail in the game.
IPFW will travel to Eastern Illinois on Wednesday at 8 p.m.