GAME NOTES: The IUPUI Jaguars are riding a six-game losing streak into the Athletics Center O'Rena where they will challenge the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in a Summit League showdown on Thursday.
Oakland leads the all-time series, 23-15, and has won the last two meetings between the schools.
IUPUI is alone at the bottom of the Summit League's standings, with just a 1-7 conference record after its 80-65 setback to South Dakota State on Saturday. The Jaguars were defeated by double digits for the third consecutive contest to drop to 6-16 overall. IUPUI lost by 15 despite four players reaching double-figures. Mitchell Patton and Greg Rice each scored 17 points to lead the team, while Donovan Gibbs scored 14 points and P.J. Hubert added 12. IUPUI shot 42.4 percent from the floor and trailed by as many as 29 points after the Jackrabbits hit 47.2 percent of their field-goal attempts including 7-of-19 from 3-point range.
The Jaguars have been without leading scorer John Hart for the past three games due to eligibility issues. With Hart absent, Patton (12.9 ppg, 5.1 pg) is the only projected starter with a double-digit scoring average. The injury bug has severely bitten IUPUI this season with five players having missed a total of 63 games thus far. As a result of the thin lineup, the Jaguars are surrendering 76.2 ppg, which is the second worst mark in the Summit League.
Unlike the visitors, the Golden Grizzlies have a star to rely on in junior guard Travis Bader, who is netting 20.2 ppg and is the leading 3-point shooter in the nation with 83 triples. The junior guard extended his streak of consecutive games with a make from beyond the arc to an NCAA-best 41 in a row in the team's disappointing 97-78 loss to South Dakota on Saturday. Bader did his part, hitting 7-of-18 from the field and 5-of-15 from beyond the arc for 19 points to go along with a team-best four assists.
His effort was unable to keep Oakland from its fourth loss in five outings, which dropped it to an 8-13 overall record and below the .500 mark in the league race. The Coyotes were the first team to get the best of Greg Kampe's Golden Grizzlies at the O'rena, where they had not lost in five previous games Bader has plenty of help surrounding him. Center Corey Petros posts 13.6 points and 9.3 boards per outing, while point guard Duke Mondy adds 11.6 ppg in addition to his 63 steals, which is the third most among Division I players.
While Bader led the way in the losing effort versus USD, his teammates made some solid contributions. Mondy tallied 17 points, while Petros nearly notched a double-double with 10 points and eight boards. Drew Valentine had a phenomenal performance as well, tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.
IUPUI has not shown it has what it takes to knock off Oakland in its own building to this point. Without Hart in the mix, the Jaguars do not have a player capable of matching Bader if he finds a way to get in the zone.