IPFW (18-6) at South Dakota State (12-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frost Arena (6,063) -- Brookings, South Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 11-1, SDSU 7-3. Away Record: IPFW 5-5, SDSU 5-6. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, SDSU 0-1. Conference Record: IPFW 6-1, SDSU 4-3. Series Record: South Dakota State leads, 11-9.
GAME NOTES: The Mastodons of IPFW try to extend their current win streak to four in a row, as they clash with the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Summit League action at Frost Arena tonight.
The top team in the Summit League entering play on Thursday, sporting a record of 6-1, the Mastodons have won eight of their last nine outings overall, with the lone setback coming against South Dakota (75-61) on Jan. 18. Last weekend, the program dismissed Western Illinois rather easily by a score of 77-64 at home in order to move to 11-1 in their own building.
IPFW's 18-6 start to the 2013-14 campaign is tied for the second-best 24-game start in program history, and the best since the school made the move to Division I back in 2001-02.
As for the Jackrabbits, currently 4-3 in conference, they started off the month of February just as they closed out last month, putting up a narrow league victory on the road. Last week, the team slipped by Denver, 74-73, and over the weekend claimed a 70-68 final versus South Dakota as well.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Jackrabbits are ahead by a count of 11-9. SDSU has won eight of the last 10 encounters, although the most recent meeting last season went to Fort Wayne, 82-75, at the Gates Sports Center.
Perhaps more than anything else, the Mastodons took care of business against Western Illinois by ruling the glass, 32-19, and limiting the visitors to a mere three offensive rebounds during the 13-point win on Saturday. Luis Jacobo was responsible for 23 points as he connected on 6-of-10 behind the 3-point line, followed by Steve Forbes and Joe Reed who contributed 18 and 10 points, respectively, not to mention a combined 11 boards.
On the season overall, IPFW has been quite strong shooting the ball from the field, hitting at a 49.8 percent clip, as well as behind the 3-point line (.409) en route to 78.5 ppg. However, the squad has failed to take full advantage at the free-throw line (.661) where they have earned 166 more opportunities than the competition. Jacobo (15.2 ppg), Forbes (12.1 ppg) and Mo Evans (10.3 ppg) all have a hand in making this team successful.
SDSU led by as many as 15 points midway through the second half against South Dakota last weekend, but the team had to hold on down the stretch for the win. Brayden Carlson, who became the 45th player in program history to reach 1,000 points for his career, tallied 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor, followed by Jordan Dykstra with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Heemstra and Jake Bittle chipped in with 10 points apiece.
Carlson, a 50.6 percent shooter from the floor in conference games this season, is putting up 19.7 ppg versus the rest of the league at the moment as he plays close to 39 minutes per contest. Dykstra accounts for another 18.1 ppg and has combined with Carlson to convert an impressive 80-of-91 attempts at the free-throw line in order to boost the group to 79.9 percent accuracy at the charity stripe in those seven bouts.
There's no denying that the 'Jacks have a couple of top-notch scorers in Carlson and Dykstra, but as a team it is IPFW that appears to bring a strong overall attack at the offensive end and that should again get the Mastodons over the top tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IPFW 77, South Dakota State 71
02/06 10:16:52 ET