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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sioux Falls Arena (6,113) -- Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Television: Midco Sports Net, FCS. Home Record: IUPUI 5-10, IPFW 12-2. Away Record: IUPUI 1-13, IPFW 8-7. Neutral Record: IUPUI 0-2, IPFW 2-0. Conference Record: IUPUI 1-13, IPFW 10-4. Series Record: IUPUI leads, 25-13.
GAME NOTES: In the first of three quarterfinal-round matchups in the 2014 Summit League Tournament, the second-seed IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons contend with the seventh-seeded IUPU Jaguars at Sioux Falls Arena.
This campaign has been a historic one for IPFW, which set a new program record for wins in a season by four (22-9). The Mastodons also fared well in conference play, finishing 10-4 against the rest of the Summit League, including wins in three straight to finish off the regular season.
IUPUI is only in this event because the Summit League invites each of its eligible teams to participate. The Jaguars gave their fans very little to cheer about this season, finishing just 6-25 overall and a dismal 1-13 against conference foes. They have lost four straight entering this contest.
Two of the many losses on the season for IUPUI came against IPFW, as the Mastodons earned a 90-75 rout on Jan. 24, followed by an 84-60 triumph on Feb. 22. IPFW has won each of the last three matchups, but IUPUI leads the all-time series, 25-13.
Ian Chiles scored a game-high 27 points, but it was not enough for IUPUI in its 75-70 loss to Western Illinois in the regular-season finale. The Jaguars allowed the Leathernecks to shoot 54.3 percent from the floor and were outscored 21-11 at the free-throw line.
Chiles (15.9 ppg) does most of the heavy lifting on offense for the Jags, a team that is only scoring 67.1 ppg while shooting the worst percentage from the field among all Summit League squads (.439). The 6-foot-1 guard netted 49 points over the last three games of the regular season after he missed seven contests due to injury. Mitch Patton (12.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Khufu Najee (10.1 ppg) are also double-digit scorers, while Marcellus Barksdale (8.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.7 apg) provides support across the board. Najee added 14 points in the losing cause against Western Illinois.
Steve Forbes sank a pair of free-throws with a second remaining as IPFW pulled out a thrilling 96-95 win over Nebraska Omaha in the regular-season finale. The Mastodons hit 55 percent of their total shots, and outscored the Mavericks in the paint, 42-30.
IPFW's ascension this season has been built on offense. The Mastodons are second in the Summit League in both scoring (76.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (.491), ranking 10th nationally in the latter category. Luis Jacobo (14.9 ppg) is the top scoring threat on a roster that favors balance over individual performance. Forbes (13.4 ppg) is the next-best option, netting 63.8 percent of his shots from the floor, while Pierre Bland (9.8 ppg, 4.2 apg) is one of five others averaging at least 6.7 ppg. In the finale, Forbes had 21 points, Jacobo netted 20 and Bland tallied 18 points and 10 assists.
This contest is more of a formality than anything else, as IUPUI simply doesn't have the firepower to contend with IPFW, something that was proven both times they met during the regular season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 83, IUPUI 67
03/08 11:47:39 ET
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