FARGO, N.D. – IPFW fell victim to a hostile home crowd and a strong North Dakota State squad, as the Mastodons dropped into a tie for second in the Summit League standings after a 69-58 loss.
The Mastodons were led by Steve Forbes who scored a game-high 17 points, while Luis Jacobo put in a dozen points, and two others – Pierre Bland and Mo Evans – each scored nine. Joe Reed pulled down a game-high seven rebounds, with Bland, Joe Edwards, and Reed each dishing out three assists.
The loss drops IPFW to 18-8 on the season, and into a tie for second in the Summit League standings with South Dakota State at 6-3 in league play, a half game ahead of Denver, IPFW’s opponent in exactly one week.
North Dakota State did not trail in the game, as the Bison jumped ahead 16-2 through the first six and a half minutes, and the Mastodons played catch-up over the rest of the contest.
IPFW immediately answered back from the quick 14-point deficit with a 10-0 run of its own, capped by a jumper by Forbes with 9:25 to play in the half. After the hosts pushed their lead back to 13 with 3:20 to play, the Mastodon defense tightened, and held the hosts scoreless for the final stretch of the first half, closing the gap to six at 32-26 after a Jacobo three-pointer.
A 12-2 NDSU run to start the second half put the hosts ahead by 15 – the largest margin of the contest – before the Mastodons began chipping away at the margin.
The Mastodons closed to within four at 58-54 after a pair of free throws by Jacobo, but could not get any closer as the Bison ended the game on a 5-0 run to give the contest its 69-58 final score.
IPFW hit 18-of-46 shots from the field (39.1%), while making 6-of-16 (37.5%) from long range and 16-of-21 free throws (76.2%). NDSU was 26-of-54 (48.1%) overall, 5-of-19 (26.3%) from beyond the arc, and 12-of-20 (60.0%) from the charity stripe.
The Mastodons return home to Fort Wayne to take on the South Dakota Coyotes in a 7 p.m. start on February 13 at the Gates Sports Center.