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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gates Sports Center (1,894) -- Fort Wayne, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: SIU Edwardsville 2-2, IPFW 3-0. Away Record: SIU Edwardsville 0-3, IPFW 3-4. Neutral Record: SIU Edwardsville 0-2, IPFW 2-0. Conference Record: SIU Edwardsville 0-0, IPFW 0-0. Series Record: IPFW leads, 9-8.
GAME NOTES: Coming off a devastating home loss, the SIU Edwardsville Cougars will try to gather themselves for a non-conference bout on the road against the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons at the Gates Sports Center on Saturday.
A last second shot from Central Michigan's Chris Fowler sent SIU Edwardsville to a 65-64 setback in its most recent outing. The loss had to sting for a team that is just 2-7 overall and has won just a single game in its last six chances. Saturday's matchup begins a three-game road trip for the Cougars, which continues on Monday against Chicago State.
IPFW has been gathering a bit of steam as it gets set for Saturday's matchup. The Mastodons posted victories in each of their last two contests with triumphs over Bradley (65-61) and Dartmouth (80-64). IPFW is now boasting an 8-4 overall record, including a perfect 3-0 mark at home. IPFW is on the front end of a three-game homestand that continues next Sunday against Eastern Illinois.
Recently IPFW has dominated the all-time series with four straight wins against SIU Edwardsville. The current run has propelled it to an all-time record of 9-8 against the Cougars.
A back and forth game between the Cougars and Central Michigan came down to the wire. With the Cougars clinging to a 64-63 lead, the Chippewas got a layup from Fowler with six seconds to play. The Cougars had two chances to win the game on the other end but Cameron Craig missed a 3-point attempt and Michael Messer's shot off the miss was off the mark.
Where the Cougars have let themselves down the most this season has been on the defensive end. SIU Edwardsville is being lit up for nearly 80 points per game, as teams sink 50.4 percent of their shots. Donivine Stewart (11.9 ppg, 3.9 apg) is the only double-figure scorer on the roster for the Cougars, who are more of a balanced squad than one reliant on just a few scorers. After Stewart there are seven other players averaging at least 6.5 points per game. Tim Johnson (8.6 ppg) is the next best option after Stewart.
Four different players scored in double figures, led by 12 points from Isaiah McCray, and Steve Forbes' double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, carrying IPFW over Bradley. The Mastodons connected on 44.9 percent of their shots from the field and scored 32 points in the paint.
Balance is also the key for IPFW, though it has proved to be a much more successful strategy for the Mastodons. Luis Jacobo (13.2 ppg) is one of only two players averaging in double figures. Jacobo had a season-worst three points against Bradley and has had fewer than 10 points in three of the last five games. Forbes (11.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is the more consistent scorer on the team, netting 63.8 percent of his attempts from the field. Jacobo and Forbes are two of a group of eight players to be averaging at least 6.8 points per game. Pierre Bland (9.7 pg, 4.8 apg) is a solid scorer in his own right, but makes more of an impact as a distributor.
This game features a team that plays well versus a team that has been horrendous on the road. The Mastodons get the nod here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 76, SIU Edwardsville 66
12/14 10:43:18 ET