IUPU-Fort Wayne (11-16) at South Dakota (8-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: DakotaDome (2,000) -- Vermillion, South Dakota. Television: FCS, Midco Sports Network. Home Record: IPFW 8-4, South Dakota 5-6. Away Record: IPFW 2-11, South Dakota 2-10. Neutral Record: IPFW 1-1, South Dakota 1-1. Conference Record: IPFW 4-9, South Dakota 4-9. Series Record: IPFW leads, 2-1.
GAMES NOTES: Gunning for just their third win on the road this season the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons will battle the South Dakota Coyotes in a Summit League brawl at the DakotaDome on Saturday night.
Normally a horrific team away from home, IPFW managed to surprise UMKC in Kansas City on Thursday night with a 65-60 win. The Mastodons are just 2-11 away from home this season but are 11-16 overall. Though IPFW's hopes of contending for a Summit League crown are long gone, the Mastodons are tied for sixth in the conference at 4-9. In its final three games of the regular season the Mastodons will face Oakland twice.
It was that same Golden Grizzlies that South Dakota lost to in heartbreaking fashion, 76-75, on Thursday. The Coyotes were done in on a last-second free- throw that sent them to their fifth straight loss and seventh in the last eight games. South Dakota is one of the teams IPFW is tied with in conference action though the Coyotes are just 8-17 overall. South Dakota will play its final three games on the road including a non-conference bout with Montana State as part of BracketBusters weekend next Sunday.
A 62-60 win for IPFW against South Dakota earlier this season marked just the third meeting between these squads. The win was the second for the Mastodons against the Coyotes.
IPFW ran out to a 34-26 lead at halftime against UMKC and then held on down the stretch in the second half when it shot 52.4 percent from the floor. The Mastodons never led by double digits in the final 20 minutes but also never trailed or had the game tied. The Mastodons rode a 13-8 edge in points off turnovers in the win.
Frank Gaines (19.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) had a less prolific game than IPFW fans are used to seeing as he put in a solid 16 points in the win. The 6-foot-3 guard can be an even more dangerous offensive threat though as he proved by scoring at least 29 points in three of the previous four games. Luis Jacobo (11.0 ppg) is also a double-figure scoring threat. The scoring options dwindle from there though with Mario Hines (8.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Joseph Edwards (7.0 ppg) the only other players putting in at least seven points per game. A lack of scorers has IPFW near the bottom of the Summit League in terms of offensive production as the Mastodons rank seventh in points (65.3 pg) and eighth in field-goal percentage (.425) in the nine-team conference.
South Dakota trailed 68-62 with 4:39 remaining against Oakland but an 8-2 spurt knotted the game at 70-70 just over a minute later. The Coyotes battled back to tie the game twice more in the final two minutes but a free throw from Duke Mondy and a missed jumper at the buzzer from Juevol Myles sent them packing with a loss.
Myles and Brandon Bos combined for 45 points in the losing effort with each topping the 20-point plateau. It was no surprise to see such an effort from Myles (15.4 ppg) who has had no problem putting up shots this season. Bos (11.0 ppg) scores at a more meager rate but does so more efficiently as he hits 47.1 percent of his shots from the field. Trevor Gruis (11.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) does even better connecting on 54.1 percent of his field-goal attempts. Two other players are scoring at least 8.5 points per game for the Coyotes, who rank third in the conference in scoring (71.1 ppg) but fall short on defense, by allowing 75.4 points per game on 46.1 percent shooting.
The duel between Myles and Gaines will be the highlight on the offensive end of the floor. With a superior supporting cast around Myles and the track record IPFW has on the road, even after Thursday's win, the Coyotes should be favored.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota 70, IUPU-Fort Wayne 65
02/16 10:31:41 ET