Texas-Pan American (2-2) vs. IUPU-Fort Wayne (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: American Bank Center (8,156) -- Corpus Christi, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: UTPA 1-2, IPFW 1-0. Away Record: UTPA 0-0, IPFW 0-2. Neutral Record: UTPA 1-0, IPFW 0-0. Conference Record: UTPA 0-0, IPFW 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 5-5.
GAME NOTES: The Islanders Basketball Tournament continues on Saturday afternoon at the American Bank Center, as the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons take on the Texas-Pan American Broncs.
IPFW split its first two games, losing at Dayton (81-80) and beating Indiana- Kokomo (90-62), before entering tournament play against host squad Texas A&M- Corpus Christi on Friday night. In what was a back-and-forth battle that remained a one-possession contest for most of the game, it suffered a heartbreaking 72-71 setback after TXA&M-CC drained the game-winning bucket with just four seconds remaining. Joe Edwards did his best to lift the Mastodons to victory, as he finished 7-of-10 from the field for 19 points while also grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Isaiah McCray and Pierre Bland each scored 14 points, while Steve Forbes rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points.
Since starting its season with back-to-back losses, UTPA has improved to .500 behind two straight wins, most recently making claim to a thrilling 81-78 last-second triumph over Tennessee Tech in the opening night of the event on Friday. The Broncs appeared the have the game well in hand, holding firm to a double-digit lead with just over six minutes to play, but even after they allowed the Golden Eagles to tie the game in the final minute, Shaquille Boga stepped up with the game-winning 3-pointer in the waning seconds. The buzzer- beater made up for a disappointing shooting night for Boga (5-of-16), as he finished with 17 points. Javorn Farrell led the way with 23 points, Justin Leathers notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Shaquille Hinds was also solid in the frontcourt with 11 points and seven boards.
These squads met last November as part of the EMU "Ice Man" Classic, with IPFW winning in triple overtime, 97-94. The series is even at 5-5.
Despite IPFW's 1-2 record, it is still off to a solid start offensively, as the team is draining just shy of 50 percent of its field goal attempts for 80.3 points per game. The biggest problem has come from 3-point range, where it is just 19-of-62 (.306). Forbes paces the balanced squad with 15.0 points per game, and he has only missed four of his 20 field goal attempts (.800). In all, the Mastodons have six players (Forbes, Bland, Edwards, McCray, Michael Kibiloski and Joe Reed) who score at least 9.7 points per game. Bland has also run a strong point with 15 assists paired with only three turnovers.
UTPA hasn't had much issue scoring this season, as it nets 78.3 points per contest, but while its field goal percentage is greater than 44 percent, it too hasn't had much success from 3-point territory (20-of-77, .260). With Farrell's big scoring night on Friday, he took the team lead with 15.0 points per game, while Boga (14.5 ppg) is hot on his heels. Leathers (12.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Hines (9.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) are also nightly contributors.
UTPA will be carrying the momentum of a thrilling win with them into this contest, which will certainly help things in its home state, but IPFW has been playing well this season only to run into some bad luck. Expect the Mastodons to turn things around with a balance effort.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 78, Texas-Pan American 74
11/16 10:41:51 ET