FORT WAYNE, Ind. – IPFW trailed by 15 points in the first half, and 13 in the second before the Mastodons fought back, using a 20-5 run to turn a 10-point deficit into a five-point lead, and never trailed again in the 86-82 Mastodon home victory.
The Mastodons remain in a tie for the top spot in the league at 5-1, as Joe Reed scored 20 points, one off of his career-high. Mo Evans scored 15 points – 13 in the second half – while Joe Edwards scored 13 and Steve Forbes 11. Reed pulled down a team-best seven rebounds, while Pierre Bland dished out four assists in the IPFW win.
IPFW (17-6, 5-1 Summit) scored the first five points of the game, and led 7-4 before Omaha ran off eight straight points to lead 12-7. The Mavericks would not trail again in the first half, as the visitors pushed to a 15-point lead at 42-27 with 4:43 to play in the opening half.
Down by 15, the Mastodons fought back out-scoring Omaha 11-2 to end the half, closing the gap to six at 44-38 at the break.
The Mastodons scored first out of the break, closing the gap to three on an Edwards three-pointer on IPFW’s first possession; however, Omaha rallied back with a 10-0 run over the next 3:11, turning its three-point lead into a 13-point advantage.
Trailing by 10 at 58-48, IPFW ran off a 20-5 run over a six-minute span, as the Mastodons hit eight of their next 11 shots from the field, turning the 10-point deficit into a five-point advantage and never trailed again in the game.
Omaha would not go quietly, tying the game at 68, but five straight points – a jumper by Reed and a three-pointer by Luis Jacobo – put IPFW ahead 73-68. Two Omaha free throws were countered by a second consecutive three-pointer by Jacobo and a fastbreak lay-up by Evans to give IPFW its largest lead of the game at 78-70.
The second-half runs continued, as Omaha knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, and tied the game at 78. A pair of free throws from Bland, and a shot-clock-beating three-pointer from Evans put the ‘Dons ahead 83-78, and the team hit three of its five free throws down the stretch to close out the four-point, 86-82 win.
IPFW made 30-of-58 shots (51.7%) in the game, while hitting on 9-of-22 (40.9%) from long range, and 17-of-21 (81.0%) from the charity stripe. Omaha was 32-of-70 (45.7%) from the field, 9-of-27 (33.3%) from beyond the arc, and 9-of-14 (64.3%) on its free throw attempts.
Justin Simmons scored a game-high 28 points for the Mavs, while Mike Rostampour pulled down a dozen rebounds in the loss.
The Mastodons return to action as the squad closes out a three-game homestand on Saturday, February 1 against the Western Illinois Leathernecks in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Gates Sports Center.