IUPU-Ft Wayne (15-5) at South Dakota (7-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: DakotaDome (10,000) -- Vermillion, South Dakota. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 8-1, USD 6-1. Away Record: IPFW 5-4, USD 1-7. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, USD 0-1. Conference Record: IPFW 3-0, USD 2-0. Series Record: IUPU-Ft Wayne leads, 3-1
GAME NOTES: The top team in the Summit League heads back to the hardwood on Saturday, as the Mastodons of IUPU-Ft Wayne go up against the South Dakota Coyotes at the DakotaDome.
The Mastodons are a perfect 3-0 in league outings thus far and have the best overall record of any team in the league at 15-5. The team is enjoying a five- game win streak at the moment, thanks in part to a 67-64 victory over Denver two nights ago at Magness Arena. The win was the ninth in the last 10 outings for the Mastodons.
As for the Coyotes, they too are on a hot streak at the moment, winners of four straight after losing six in a row. The program, which is closing up a five-game homestand today, took down IUPUI Thursday night in a 69-57 final in order to move to an impressive 6-1 at home.
The all-time series favors IUPU-Ft Wayne by a count of 3-1, thanks to a sweep of the two meetings last season. The last matchup took place in the middle of February last year, with the Mastodons coming away with a 64-51 victory on the road.
In a game that featured six ties and eight lead changes, the Mastodons conquered the Pioneers at the free-throw line, hitting on 16-of-20 in the second half alone and outscoring the hosts by a 22-9 margin overall. Mo Evans made a huge impact for the visitors with a game-high 18 points off the bench, shooting 4-of-5 behind the 3-point line, followed by starters Steve Forbes and Pierre Bland with 16 and 13 points, respectively, the former also pulling down a team-best eight rebounds.
Although he shot just 1-of-7 from the floor and finished with nine points against Denver, Luis Jacobo is still the leading scorer overall on the season for the Mastodons with his 14.6 ppg. Jacobo has converted 35 shots behind the 3-point line, the same as Evans (10.2 ppg) which means they both trail Michael Kibiloski (7.7 ppg) who has 37 triples to his credit. As a group, IPFW is converting just over eight triples per outing, helping the team to reach 78.6 ppg.
Scoring 14 of the final 17 points on Thursday night, the Coyotes gave themselves just enough time and opportunity to pull away and register their second league win in as many opportunities. Brandon Bos tallied 21 points in 31 minutes of action, followed by Trevor Gruis with 18 points, to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Tyler Flack tacked on nine points and seven boards of his own.
The Coyotes have had a difference leading scorer in each of the last four games, a mode of attack that seems to be working for the team since those outings have all ended up in the win column. Overall, the top offensive threat is Bos with his 13.6 ppg, thanks in part to his 41.3 percent accuracy behind the 3-point line, followed by Gruis with 12.9 ppg as he focuses his efforts in the paint where he is hauling in 6.7 rpg as well.
Even though the Coyotes are on a winning streak of their own at the moment, IPFW has to be the team to watch in the Summit this weekend given the squad's propensity for high-scoring affairs and an ability to win on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Ft Wayne 77, South Dakota 70
01/18 10:23:44 ET