No one said achieving unprecedented success would be easy, and for the IPFW men's basketball squad, that was the case Thursday. The Mastodons rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat Omaha 86-82 in Summit League action at the Gates Sports Center.
The victory is IPFW's 17th of the season and places the team just one shy of tying the program mark as a NCAA Division I member. The Mastodons remain tied for the top spot in the league with North Dakota State.
The Mastodons (17-6, 5-1 SL) trailed 42-27 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half but climbed back with an 11-2 run to a 44-38 halftime deficit.
After IPFW inched closer to 44-41 in the opening minutes of the second half, Omaha (12-9, 2-4) ran off 10 consecutive points for a 54-44 margin. IPFW responded with a 15-6 run, and when center Steve Forbes drained a shot at the 11:47 mark, the Mastodons were trailing just 60-59.
The game was close the rest of the way, but IPFW freshman guard Mo Evans scored six points in the final 33 seconds to seal the victory.
Evans finished with 15 points (13 in the second half) and five rebounds, but the star of the night was sophomore forward Joe Reed.
The Center Grove High School product scored 20 points (one shy of his career best) and pulled down a team-leading seven boards.
Junior wing Joe Edwards scored 13 and Forbes added 11.
Senior point guard Pierre Bland dished out four assists.
IPFW made 30 of 58 shots (51.7 percent) in the game while hitting on 9 of 22 (40.9 percent) three-pointers and 17 of 21 (81 percent) free throws.
Omaha was 32 of 70 (45.7 percent) from the field, 9 of 27 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc and 9 of 14 (64.3 percent) on free throws.
Justin Simmons scored a game-high 28 points for the Mavericks, while Mike Rostampour had a dozen rebounds.
The Mastodons will host Western Illinois on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Gates Sports Center.