IUPU-Fort Wayne (14-16) at Oakland (16-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics Center O'rena (4,005) -- Rochester, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 10-4, Oakland 10-1. Away Record: IPFW 3-11, Oakland 6-13. Neutral Record: IPFW 1-1, Oakland 0-0. Conference Record: IPFW 6-9, Oakland 10-5. Series Record: Oakland leads, 16-4.
GAMES NOTES: In the regular-season finale the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons will face off with the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in a Summit League bout at the Athletics Center O'rena on Saturday.
IPFW is rolling along with the regular season coming to a close with wins in its last four games. The recent win streak has improved the Mastodons overall record to 14-16, while lifting the team to 6-9 in league action. IPFW still has a shot at moving to the fifth seed in the Summit League Tournament as they are just a half game behind Nebraska-Omaha.
Oakland has also been streaking of late with wins in eight of its last nine games. The Golden Grizzlies' sudden surge has improved Oakland to 16-14 overall and 10-5 in league action. Right now the Golden Grizzlies are fourth in the conference standings and a game behind North Dakota State for the third seed in the upcoming Summit League Tournament.
These teams met just a few weeks ago with IPFW taking a 77-71 win on its home floor. The victory ended a 10-game winning streak for Oakland in the all-time series, which the Golden Grizzlies have dominated, 16-4.
During BracketBusters weekend, IPFW hooked up with Bowling Green and came away with an 88-75 victory. Frank Gaines scored a game-high 26 points in the contest as the Mastodons shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and knocked down 12 shots from 3-point range. That shooting from the perimeter was key as the Mastodons were roughed up inside with a 35-23 deficit on the boards and a 46-34 disadvantage on points in the paint.
Gaines (19.4 ppg) is one of the better scorers in the Summit League. The 6 foot-3 guard is third in the conference in points and has scored at least 20 points in five of the last eight contests. Luis Jacobo (11.0 ppg) shoots just over 40 percent from the floor as the only other player on the team scoring in double figures. The Mastodons are rather weak on the interior, with Mario Hines (8.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) the best performer in the paint. As a team IPFW is among the bottom three teams in the conference in most offensive statistics including points (66.4 pg), assists (12.2 pg) and field-goal percentage (.432).
Oakland battled Morehead State during BracketBusters weekend. The Golden Grizzlies earned an 82-79 overtime victory over the Eagles despite surrendering a seven-point lead with 1:28 remaining in regulation. Travis Bader put together another big scoring day, pouring in 27 points while hitting all 10 of his free throws.
Led by Bader (22.3 ppg) the Golden Grizzlies have been one of the best offensive teams in the Summit League. Oakland leads the conference in points (73.8 ppg) despite shooting just 44 percent from the floor. However the Golden Grizzlies struggle on the defensive end of the floor as they let up 74 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting. Bader has been on fire recently scoring at least 23 points in eight of the last nine games. Bader isn't a very versatile scorer though relying heavily on shots from beyond the arc. He has knocked down at least five 3-pointers in 16 games this season. Also scoring in double figures are Corey PEtros (12.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg), Duke Mondy (12.2 ppg, 5.2 apg) and Drew Valentine (10.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg).
With both of these teams riding a bit of momentum of late something has got to give on Saturday. As long as Bader and the rest of the Golden Grizzlies are able to get into a rhythm on the offensive end at home they will close the season on a high note.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 76, IUPU-Fort Wayne 68
03/02 10:33:53 ET