IUPU-Fort Wayne (10-13) at Nebraska Omaha (7-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ralston Arena (4,691) -- Omaha, Nebraska. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 8-3, Omaha 4-3. Away Record: IPFW 1-10, Omaha 2-12. Neutral Record: IPFW 1-0, Omaha 1-1. Conference Record: IPFW 3-6, Omaha 4-6. Series Record: IUPU-Fort Wayne leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Nebraska Omaha Mavericks bring some momentum back home to Ralston Arena as they get set to host the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons in a Summit League matchup.
The Mastodons have swept the all-time series to this point with the Mavericks, winning the first two meetings in the 2011-12, before coasting to a 96-78 decision in the first encounter of this season. In the only previous game played in Omaha, the Mastodons found themselves trailing by 15 at halftime, but rallied to force overtime, and later out-scored the Mavericks, 15-12, in the overtime session.
The Mastodons snapped a two-game slide on Saturday with a thrilling 80-79, overtime victory over IUPUI at home. Frank Gaines scored as game-high 29 points, including the game-winning free throws with three seconds to play, as he lifted IPFW over the Jaguars to help it improve to a 10-13 overall record and 3-6 Summit League standing.
IPFW set a season-high versus IUPUI with 19 assists after the team's first 11 makes from the field were assisted. Gaines (18.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg) is the third- leading scorer in the Summit League although he had a streak of six games in double figures ended against Western Illinois when he scored eight points. Luis Jacobo (10.7 ppg) fills in as the second option thanks in part to his shooting from beyond the arc (.378 3PT percentage). Mario Hines (8.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) leads the team on the boards.
On the season IPFW has fought to about even on the scoreboard with a scoring margin of +0.4 on the year. The Mastodons have done so by being more successful defensively though as they hold teams to just 64.4 points per game despite a high field-goal percentage (.452) by the opposition. On offense, the Mastodons put in just 64.8 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting.
Nebraska Omaha closed out its three-game road swing with two straight wins over South Dakota (95-90) and UMKC (67-59) to mark its first winning streak of the season. The Mavericks have struggled overall on their way to 7-16 overall and 4-6 conference records.
Justin Simmons led Omaha with 21 points and John Karhoff added 16 to help the team overcome an 11-point halftime deficit. The Mavericks outscored the Kangaroos, 37-18, after the break as the Roos went ice-cold, making less than 30 percent of their attempts from the floor. The Mavericks drained 50 percent of their field goal attempts and 9-of-10 from the foul line after halftime to make it two in a row. Despite the recent success, Omaha is still being outscored by an average of 12.2 ppg.
Simmons (15.5 ppg) and Karhoff (12.2 ppg) lead the Mavericks with double-digit scoring averages. Although the hosts are playing their best basketball of the season, they were completely outplayed in their last clash with the Mastodons. IPFW was able to operate very efficiently in that bout, which Omaha will need to change if it wishes to produce a better outcome.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 79, Nebraska Omaha 70
01/31 10:32:59 ET