Western Illinois (9-12) at IUPU-Ft Wayne (17-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gates Sports Center (2,700) -- Fort Wayne, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: WIU 6-2, IPFW 10-1. Away Record: WIU 1-9, IPFW 5-5. Neutral Record: WIU 2-1, IPFW 2-0. Conference Record: WIU 3-3, IPFW 5-1. Series Record: IUPU-Ft Wayne leads, 10-6.
GAME NOTES: Tied for first place in the Summit League standings with North Dakota State, the Mastodons of IUPU-Ft Wayne kick off the month of February with a meeting against the Western Illinois Leathernecks.
The Mastodons have won two straight and seven of the last eight outings, thanks in part to an 86-82 triumph over Nebraska Omaha on Thursday night. With the win the team is now 5-1 in conference and an impressive 10-1 at home.
As for the Leathernecks, a team which is three games under .500 on the campaign overall, they are an even 3-3 in league play and tied with South Dakota State, Denver and South Dakota for third place in the standings. Also in action two nights ago, WIU tackled IUPUI on the road by a score of 69-54.
IUPU-Ft Wayne leads the all-time series by a count of 10-6 according to Western Illinois sources.
The Leathernecks struggled coming out of the gate against IUPUI, shooting only 37.5 percent from the field and missing all five chances behind the 3-point line, but turned it around in the second half with 65.4 percent accuracy. Garret Covington posted 17 points and nine rebounds, followed by Adam Link with 16 points and seven boards off the bench. Michael Ochereobia and Mike Miklusak added 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The leading scorer in three straight and six of the last seven games for WIU, Covington is responsible for 14.2 ppg and is the only player in double figures at the moment for a team posting 62.4 ppg. Defensively, Western Illinois has been performing rather well by limiting opponents to only 40.9 percent shooting from the floor and 60.4 ppg.
IUPU-Ft Wayne trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half against the Mavericks at home, but then the Mastodons made good on 57.1 percent from the field in the second half in order to battle back and steal the victory. Joe Reed came off the bench to post 20 points and seven rebounds, followed by Mo Evans with 15 points as a reserve as well. Starters Joe Edwards and Steve Forbes accounted for 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Luis Jacobo, who shot only 3-of-10 from the floor as he finished with nine points in the win over Omaha, is listed as the top scorer for the Mastodons overall this season with his 14.8 ppg a he shoots 41.5 percent beyond the arc. Forbes (11.8 ppg) and Evans (10.5 ppg) add to the offensive attack as the latter connects on 48.8 percent out on the perimeter in order to lift the team to 40.7 percent from 3-point range.
Comparing the Mastodons with their near-perfect home record and Western Illinois which has won just once in 10 chances on the road this season, it almost seems like a forgone conclusion that this is a meeting that should be claimed by the hosts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Ft Wayne 72, Western Illinois 66
02/01 10:18:09 ET