IPFW wins seventh straight in Denver

DENVER, Colo. – Redshirt-senior Max Landis/Indianapolis scored 19 points to lead IPFW to a 65-64 men’s college basketball Summit League road victory at the University of Denver on Saturday evening at Magness Arena in Denver, Colorado.  Landis was 4-4 on three-point field goals in the second half, and made two free throws with 2.4-seconds remaining to secure the triumph for the visiting Mastodons (14-4, 3-0 Summit League), who continue their finest Division I start to a season with their seventh consecutive victory.  Joe Rosga led the host Pioneers (9-8, 1-3 Summit League) with a game-high 20 points.  IPFW, ranked No. 25 in this week’s The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, will play again on the road at the South Dakota State University on Thursday, January 14, at 8 p.m. ET in Brookings, South Dakota.

IPFW opened the scoring with a basket inside from redshirt-junior Brent Calhoun/Indianapolis just 14 seconds into the contest, and the game was tied five times early, the last at 14-14 with 8:03 left in the first half.  The Mastodons used an 11-3 run to lead 25-17 at 4:25, getting three-point field goals from juniors Mo Evans/Indianapolis and DeAngelo Stewart/Detroit, Mich., off the bench.  IPFW took its largest lead of the period and the game at 31-22 with 1:20 on the clock, following a pair of free throws by senior Michael Calder/Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and it was 31-24 at the intermission.  Calhoun, Stewart and redshirt-freshman John Konchar/Chicago, Ill. each scored seven first-half points.

IPFW maintained its advantage to start the second half, leading 49-41 with 12:56 left, after a layup from Konchar.  Calhoun got it started again, this time with a two-handed slam dunk, while Landis knocked down two three-pointers during the early going of the period, and Evans had a triple, as well.  The Mastodons still led 56-49 at 6:45, following two more three-pointers from Landis and Stewart.  Denver, however, rallied back with nine unanswered points, including a go ahead three-pointer from Nate Engesser, to lead 58-56 at 3:56.  IPFW, though, battled back with another three-pointer from Landis at 3:33 to go back in front for good at 59-58, and Evans’ layup at 2:55 made it 61-58.  Engesser cut it to 61-60 with 25-seconds remaining, but Landis made two free throws at 10.3 seconds for a 63-60 lead.  Engesser was fouled on a three-point attempt with 4.1 seconds left, made the first to make it 63-61, but missed both the second attempt, and the third attempt on purpose, which Landis rebounded and was fouled – making both free throws for a 65-61 advantage.  Rosga was successful on his buzzer-beating three-pointer from about 30 feet for the final margin.

Landis led IPFW with his 19 points, making 4-6 three-pointers and 7-8 free throws.  Calhoun added 11 points, making 5-6 shots from the field, for his third consecutive double-figure scoring game.  Konchar and Stewart each finished with 10 points for the Mastodons, while Evans had eight points and senior Joe Reed/Greenwood contributed five points and a game-high nine rebounds.  IPFW shot 50% (20-40) from the field, including 47% (8-17) on three-pointers and 68% (17-25) at the free throw line.

Rosga led Denver with his game-high 20 points, followed by Engesser with 15 points, off the bench, and Marcus Byrd with 12 points.  DU shot 43% (22-51) from the field, including 32% (10-31) on three-pointers and 71% (10-14) at the line.

IPFW is now 14-4 overall for its best start to a season as a Division I program (2001-02).  The seven-straight wins also match the best winning streak in the program’s DI history, accomplished last season (Jan. 24-Feb. 19, 2015).  The Mastodons’ all-time best start is 11-0, accomplished during 1988-89 as a Division II member.

IPFW was playing Denver for the fifth time overall since the Pioneers joined the league for 2013-14, and now lead the series, 4-1.

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