FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Playing in the Gates Sports Center for the first time in over two years, IPFW used a late 14-0 run, capped by a thunderous dunk by Frank Gaines that brought crowd of 1,149 to its feet, and in the process, snaping a four-game losing skid with a 75-66 victory over North Dakota State.
IPFW evens its season record to 10-10 on the year, and improves to 4-7 in the Summit League, while NDSU falls to 13-7 overall and 6-4 in league play.
Gaines scored a team-high 23 points, while Justin Jordan scored a dozen, and Michael Kibiloski 11. Two others, Mario Hines and Trey McCorkle, finished a basket shy of double-figures with nine and eight points, each.
The Mastodons out-rebounded the Bison 38-to-24 in the game, led by 10 from Gaines for his first double-double of the year. Hines pulled down six boards, while three others, John Peckinpaugh, Antwaun Boyd, and Kibiloski each corralled five caroms. Boyd dished out a game-high-tying five assists.
The Mastodons jumped out to a seven-point, 15-8 lead through the first six and a half minutes of the game before the Bison quickly responded from the deficit to score eight straight points to take a 16-15 lead nearly three minutes later.
NDSU grew its lead to as many as two in the second half, at 22-20, before IPFW used two three-pointers by Kibiloski and one by Peckinpaugh to push the lead to six with 42 seconds left, before Bison guard Taylor Bruan ended the half with a mid-lane put-back, closing the NDSU deficit to four at 35-31 at halftime.
The Bison came out quickly in the second half, closing the deficit, and increasing a lead to as many as five, the last time on a TrayVonn Wright three-point play that gave NDSU its 55-50 advantage with 10:06 to play in the game.
After the Wright basket, the Mastodon defense clamped down, holding NDSU without another field goal for the next eight and a half minutes, and off the scoreboard altogether for the next six and a half minutes, taking a nine-point lead at 64-55 following Gaines' fastbreak dunk that brought the crowd to a fever pitch.
The crowd was raised to an even further frenzy to possessions later when Jordan was fouled while going in for a lay-up, but had the presence of mind with his back to the basket to throw the ball up over his right shoulder, and as the whistle blew, the ball rolled around the rim and fell through. The subsequent free throw pushed the Mastodon lead to 11, the high-water mark in the game until the last minute of the contest.
The Mastodons made 8-of-10 free throws over the final minute and a half of the game to ice the nine-point Summit League win.
IPFW's rebounding margin was the team's largest since out-rebounding UMKC in each team's Summit League opener this season. The team's 54.2 percent (26-of-48) shooting in the game is tied for the second-highest percentage this season for the 'Dons, who also went 26-of-48 at home against IUPUI on January 5. The 'Dons also made half of their three-point attempts (8-of-16), and 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) on their charity stripe attempts.
For the third straight game, the Mastodon defense came up solid, holding their opponent to under 44 percent shooting, as the Bison were 22-of-54 from the field (40.7 percent), and 10-of-26 from long range (38.5 percent).
The Mastodons return to action on Saturday, January 28 at 7 p.m., when the team returns to the Gates Sports Center to take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, who fell this evening to the Oakland Grizzlies by a score of 92-87.
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