FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Joe Edwards scored a career-high 23 points as IPFW never trailed in the team’s 84-64 win over Western Illinois in the regular season finale between the two teams and senior night for the team’s three seniors, Edwards, Isaiah McCray, and Steve Forbes.
The Mastodons (16-13, 9-7 Summit League) have earned the fourth seed for the upcoming Summit League Tournament, and will face off against South Dakota at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 8.
Edwards’ point total tops his previous career-best of 20 set a week ago against North Dakota State, and puts him nine points shy of 1,000 for his career. Mo Evans and McCray each scored 16 points, while Max Landis and Michael Calder each chipped in 10. Forbes and Evans each pulled down seven rebounds to lead the team, while Landis dished out a game-high four assists.
The win also gives IPFW head coach Jon Coffman 16 wins, a new program record for coaches in their first year with the program.
IPFW hit 31-of-56 shots from the field in the game, a percentage of 55.4, while hitting on half of its 24 three-point tries. Western Illinois hit 39.2 percent of its shots from the field, 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from long range, and a blistering 93.8 percent (15-of-16) from the charity stripe.
IPFW jumped out quickly, to an 8-2 lead through the first two minutes of the game on an Edwards jumper, an Edwards three-pointer, and an Isaiah McCray three-pointer. The Mastodons never trailed – the second time this season that IPFW has not trailed – and pushed ahead by 11 at 21-10 following back-to-back three-pointers from Evans and McCray.
Western Illinois fought back and climbed to within one on two separate occasions, but could not push ahead to a lead. Leading by two with 1:41 to play in the first half, IPFW scored the final six points of the first half to take a 41-33 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Mastodons and Leathernecks went back-and-forth through the early portions of the second half, before an IPFW 11-0 run, capped by an Edwards dunk, put the hosts ahead by 21 at 66-45. The IPFW advantage reached as many as 25, before the Leathernecks scored the final five points of the game to give the contest its 84-64 final score.
Garret Covington scored a team-best 18 points, while J.C. Fuller scored 16 and Jalen Chapman 10.