MACOMB, Ill. – Luis Jacobo picked up a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double – his second of the season – as the Mastodons pulled away late in a 65-56 win over Western Illinois, giving IPFW a season sweep over the Leathernecks.
The win improves IPFW to 21-9, and 9-4 in league play, tying for the second-most wins in a season in program history. The Mastodons are now in a two-way tie for the second seed in the Summit League standings with South Dakota State. With an IPFW win on Saturday, the Mastodons would secure the second seed for the upcoming Summit League Tournament.
Jacobo’s 19 points were helped by 11 from Joe Reed and 10 from Steve Forbes, with Isaiah McCray scoring eight. Mo Evans picked up five rebounds for IPFW, which out-rebounded the Leathernecks 36-to-27. Pierre Bland, who played all 40 minutes in the game, dished out a game-high five assists.
Western Illinois jumped out early, leading by three at 8-5; however, the Mastodons countered with a 12-0 run, holding the Leathernecks without a point during a five minute defensive stretch, and pushing out to a 17-8 lead.
The first-half margin grew to as many as 12 at 27-15 before WIU closed the half strong, cutting the deficit to seven at 29-22 at the halftime break.
The Mastodons led by nine at 36-27 following a pair of Forbes free throws three and a half minutes into the second half before the hosts went on a 10-0 run, taking their first lead since the early portions of the contest.
The lead changed hands four times total in the second half, the last coming on the heels of a 9-2 IPFW run that turned a two-point WIU lead into a five-point Mastodon advantage with 4:04 to play in the contest.
The Leathernecks would get within two with 3:45 to play, but a game-ending IPFW 11-2 run gave the game its 65-56 final score.
IPFW hit 20-of-47 shots from the field in the game (42.6%), while making 8-of-19 (42.1%) from long range, and 17-of-25 (68.0%) from the charity stripe. The Mastodons held Western Illinois to 38.6% shooting (17-of-44) from the field, and 5-of-13 (38.5%) from beyond the arc.
Jabari Sandifer scored a team-best 14 points, while Garret Covington scored 13 in the losing effort.
The Mastodons close the season on Saturday, March 1, when the team takes on the Mavericks from Omaha in a 2 p.m. EST tip-off.