FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Coliseum (13,000) -- Fort Wayne, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: South Dakota 5-4. IPFW 6-0. Away Record: South Dakota 1-6, IPFW 1-10. Neutral Record: South Dakota 1-1, IPFW 1-1. Conference Record: South Dakota 3-3, IPFW 1-4. Series Record: Tied, 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: Both the South Dakota Coyotes and the IUPU-Ft. Wayne Mastodons will look to bounce back when they square off at Memorial Coliseum in a Summit League bout Thursday night.
In a marathon game with UMKC last Saturday, South Dakota fell just short, 90-86, in the final game of a three-contest homestand. The setback was the third in the last four games for the Coyotes who are now 7-11 overall and an even 3-3 against teams from the Summit League. South Dakota has just one win in seven trips on the road this season where the Coyotes will remain in five of its next six contests including this matchup.
For the second straight game IPFW both failed to score more than 60 points and earn a victory with an 83-57 defeat to South Dakota State on Saturday. The Mastodons had won back-to-back games previously and are now 8-11 overall this season but just 1-4 in conference play. The single win came in a 96-78 shootout against Nebraska-Omaha. IPFW is returning home to Memorial Coliseum, where it is a perfect 6-0 this season, for the next four games.
These teams have met in each of the last two season with each taking a victory at home. Those two matchups are the only meetings all-time between the two programs.
A 21-6 run from UMKC midway through the second half proved to be crucial in the Coyotes loss to the Kangaroos. The run turned an eight-point for South Dakota into a seven-point deficit which the Coyotes were never able to overcome. South Dakota allowed the Kangaroos to shoot an incredible 82.6 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Despite being the second-highest scoring team in the Summit League (71.7 ppg) the Coyotes have struggled to string wins together due to their weak defensive showings. On the season South Dakota is being lit up for 75.7 points per game on 45.6 percent shooting. The Coyotes are also facing a deficit on the boards of more than five rebounds per game. A lack of depth has hurt South Dakota with only five players scoring more than six points per game. Juevol Myles (15.8 ppg) has been the most productive scorer but has struggled to hit shots consistently. Myles shoots just 39.3 percent from the floor. Trevor Gruis (11.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is one of few frontcourt options for South Dakota, while Karim Rowson (10.3 ppg) has also scored relatively well.
It was also in the second half that IPFW lost control of its contest with South Dakota State. The Mastodons allowed the Jackrabbits to hit 72.7 percent of its shots, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc, in the final period while hitting on just 37.5 percent of their own. A 23-10 deficit in points off of turnovers did not help matters.
On the scoreboard IPFW has largely fought to even on the season overall scoring 65.8 points per game while letting up 65.1 for a +0.7 scoring differential. There is a bit more of a discrepancy between the Mastodon's shooting percentage (.412) and their opponents (.447). IPFW has managed to be the most productive team on the glass in the Summit League (36.6 pg) though. Frank Gaines (18.8 ppg) is the third best scorer in the conference and has been carrying the Mastodons almost entirely on his own. Luis Jacobo (11.0 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures, while Mario Hines (8.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the leader on the glass.
The Mastodons have been a totally different team at home than on the road. Although South Dakota will give the Mastodons a challenge, IPFW should be able to keep riding its homecourt advantage to a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Ft. Wayne 67, South Dakota 64
01/17 10:38:42 ET
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