Mastodons out-shoot Jacks 78-72 on Feb. 20

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

A hot-shooting IPFW team proved too much for the Jacks to overcome as the SDSU men’s basketball team lost 78-72 on Feb. 20 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Mastodons connected on 13 of their 19 three-point attempts and built up a 23-point lead midway through the second half to seemingly put the game out of reach.

SDSU would charge back with a 38-12 run over the next nine minutes and got the game to within three with a little more than 30 seconds remaining.

“I was very pleased that our guys didn’t quit, because for 35 minutes of the game, we weren’t very good,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy.

Despite being outrebounded by 10 and turning the ball over only six times -a mark that has not been bested in at least 10 years- the Jacks still got it down to a one possession game in the final minute.

“We had the lead and we find ways to allow teams back in the game”, IPFW head coach Dane Fife said. “I think we have to continue to be aggressive on offense because I think we get on our heels and get settled in and we don’t want to get into a comfort zone.”

“I thought we did an outstanding job defensively (for the first 30-35 minutes), Fife said. “We rebounded the heck out of the ball. It was a good team effort. I thought we did a really nice job of getting good shots.”

SDSU (13-14, 9-7) has now lost three games in a row and were swept on the road in conference for the first time this season.

“It goes back to energy,” Nagy said. “Part of the problem defensively was that we were just so bad offensively. You get rid of all the X’s and O’s and you go back to who wants to win the game more and IPFW did.”

With two games left, Thursday vs. Western Illinois and Saturday vs. IUPUI, both at home, the Jacks find themselves a half-game ahead of IPFW (14-13, 9-8, 5th) for fourth place and two games clear of NDSU (10-16, 7-9, 6th).

It seems very likely that SDSU and IPFW will meet up in the first round of the Summit League tournament. A single SDSU win or NDSU loss (along with IPFW losing to No. 1 Oakland on Feb. 18) assures that of happening.

“I feel like our players are just hoping that people let us into fourth place and that’s just not going to happen,” said Nagy. “IPFW isn’t going to and North Dakota State isn’t going to.

“The question is are we going to show up or hope other people lose so we can back into it, or show up and take it like we are supposed to.”