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Up next for IPFW: Today at Western Illinois

IPFW senior forward Luis Jacobo drives baseline against Denver earlier this season at the Gates Sports Center. (News-Sentinel file photo by Gannon Burgett)
IPFW senior forward Luis Jacobo drives baseline against Denver earlier this season at the Gates Sports Center. (News-Sentinel file photo by Gannon Burgett)

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Mastodons' need to keep winning to stay near top of league

Thursday, February 27, 2014 02:50 am
Up next for IPFW: Western IllinoisWhen: 8 tonight

Where: Waste Management Court, Macomb, Ill.

Radio: 1380-AM

Records: IPFW 20-9 (8-4 Summit League), Western Illinois (9-18, 3-9)

Expected starters for IPFW: Pierre Bland – 6-2 senior guard; Isaiah McCray – 6-0 junior guard; Luis Jacobo – 6-5 senior forward; Michael Kibiloski – 6-7 senior forward; Steve Forbes – 6-9 junior center.

IPFW update: The Mastodons can't afford a loss if they have any hopes of securing the second seed in next month's Summit League Tournament. IPFW is tied for second with South Dakota State and Denver; all three teams are two games behind league-leading North Dakota State (10-4). The above starting lineup is unbeaten in six games this season, but the Mastodons have not won in Macomb in more than three years (Feb. 5, 2011). IPFW's 77-64 victory over the Leathernecks at the Gates Sports Center earlier this month snapped a four-game losing streak to Western Illinois. IPFW is coming off a blowout victory over IUPUI (84-60) last Saturday. The win was the program's 20th of the season, which set a program mark at the NCAA Division I level. However, the win was just IPFW's second in its last five games. The Mastodons are 143rd in the latest RPI rankings, which is the third-best rating in program history. The 20 wins place the Mastodons just one behind Indiana State (21-7) for the most wins of any Division I team in this state this season. After a 7-1 January record (best in program history), the Mastodons have struggled to a 3-3 mark this month. Senior forward Jacobo paces IPFW offensively with a 14.6 per game scoring average, while Forbes (12.1) and freshman guard Mo Evans (10 points per game) are also productive. Evans has scored the ninth-most points by a IPFW freshman ever. Western Illinois has dropped six consecutive games. IPFW crushed the Leathernecks 32-19 (12-3 offensively) in rebounding in its earlier win.

IPFW coach Tony Jasick: “Western Illinois sets multiple ball screens every possession. They do a really good job of that and the other thing that they do is spread you out. They have a really effective post player (Michael Ochereobia) and they surround him with (Garret Covington) is a really good player. He's probably going to be an All-Summit League guy. They have shooters that they spread the floor with as well. They challenge you defensively. I think (Western Illinois) is really, really well coached. (Jim Molinari) has a young team that has continued to get better. They've been in every single game. It's just a matter of time to where they can turn it into winning games. There is no doubt in my mind that they are scary.”

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010.

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