FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Denver Pioneers shot nearly 60 percent from long range in the first half, and 53 percent for the game. IPFW Mastodons was not able to overcome the strong shooting performance on senior day for Pierre Bland, Luis Jacobo, and Michael Kibiloski in a 73-62 Pioneer win.
Bland scored a team-high 15 points for the Mastodons, while Steve Forbes scored 11, and Jacobo and Joe Reed each scored 10. Forbes pulled down a game-high seven rebounds, as IPFW out-rebounded Denver 31-to-16 in the game. Reed also led the Mastodons with three assists.
IPFW (19-9, 7-4 Summit League) jumped out quickly, and opened a seven-point, 17-10 lead just over eight minutes into the game. Denver (13-12, 6-4 Summit) proceeded to run off a 23-6 streak. The Mastodon offense hit a rut, making just two field goals over a nine-minute span, as the Pioneers pushed out to a 10-point lead at the halftime break.
With Denver leading by 13 after a Brett Olson three-pointer with 13:56 to play in the game, IPFW put together a 15-5 run, capped by a tip-in from Joe Reed, that cut the margin to three just over six minutes later, and had the entire Gates Sports Center on its feet.
With the crowd at its back, the Mastodons had three attempts to tie the score over the next two minutes, but could not get any to fall. Denver scored the next four points, and every time that IPFW scored, the Pioneers answered back, before pulling away late in the 11-point Denver victory.
IPFW hit half of its 44 shots in the game, and 6-of-20 from long range. Denver was 24-of-44 from the field (54.5%), 11-of-21 (52.4%) from beyond the arc, and 14-of-23 on free throws.
Bryant Rucker and Brett Olson each scored 18 points, while Chris Udofia added 16 in the winning effort.
The Mastodons return to action on Saturday, February 22, when the squad travels to Indianapolis to take on the IUPUI Jaguars in a 2 p.m. tip-off in the Jungle.