Denver (12-12) at IUPU-Fort Wayne (19-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hilliard Gates Sports Center (2,700) -- Fort Wayne, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 7-4, IPFW 12-1. Away Record: Denver 4-6, IPFW 5-7. Neutral Record: Denver 1-2, IPFW 2-0. Conference Record: Denver 5-4, IPFW 7-3. Series Record: IPFW leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons ended a two-game losing skid with a victory on Thursday, and they'll try to win their second consecutive game as they play host to the Denver Pioneers in Summit League action at Hilliard Gates Sports Center.
Denver ended a two-game win streak with a loss Thursday night to IUPUI, 59-49. The Pioneers have won five of their last seven games and have battled to a 5-4 conference record as they chase leader North Dakota State.
The two straight losses IPFW experienced was just the second time all season long the Mastodons have lost back-to-back games. But the 75-69 win over South Dakota may have gotten them back on track, as they pursue NDSU for the conference lead. IPFW is 7-3 in Summit League play.
These two teams have only met once before on the court, which was earlier this season. The Mastodons came away with a slight 67-64 victory over Denver on the road back on Jan. 16.
Denver's loss to IUPUI didn't do the Pioneers any favors, considering IUPUI is dwelling in the Summit League's basement and Denver could have been in much better shape in the conference with a victory. Chris Udofia topped the Pioneers in the contest with 13 points and five assists, adding three steals to his stat line. Brett Olson was the only other player in double figures for Denver, netting 10 points with five rebounds and four assists. The Pioneers shot 40 percent from the floor in the loss.
Olson has proven to be the most consistent scorer for Denver on the year, averaging 15.1 ppg on 47.9 percent shooting from the floor. Udofia checks in at second in scoring with a 12.5 ppg average, though that number is slightly lower in Summit League play, averaging 12.1 ppg versus conference opponents. Udofia tops the squad with 92 assists on the year and 39 steals. Cam Griffin leads the Pioneers in rebounding at 6.2 rpg. Udofia has a team-high 62 blocked shots on the season.
IPFW jumped ahead of South Dakota by 12 points at the intermission, and the Coyotes were only able to make up half that deficit in the second half en route to the Mastodons' six-point victory. Mo Evans scored 17 points to pace IPFW in the contest, while Luis Jacobo added 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Joe Edwards chipped in 14 points, and Steve Forbes tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. IPFW shot just 37.9 percent in the win.
Jacobo leads the team in scoring this season with 14.8 ppg on 45.7 percent shooting from the floor, including 42.1 percent from 3-point distance. Forbes, who is second on the team in rebounding at 5 rpg, is second on the Mastodons in scoring with a 12.1 ppg average. Joe Reed is the top rebounder at 5.6 rpg. Evans checks in at third in scoring with 10.2 ppg. Pierre Bland has recorded a team-high 109 assists and 46 steals for the Mastodons on the year.
Denver has certainly picked up its play in the latter half of this season, and has received a solid contribution from Udofia and Olson. But IPFW has a well- rounded lineup and is making a serious push for the conference's top spot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IPFW 78, Denver 69
02/15 10:56:15 ET