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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Isaiah McCray of IPFW, left, is fouled by Link Lovins of IU Kokomo as Mastodon teammate Steve Forbes blocks out Monday at the Gates Center.

IPFW bounces back with big home win

IPFW washed away losing its season opener on a last-second shot with a blowout home victory Monday night.

The Mastodons crushed IU Kokomo 90-62 in front of 787 fans in the Gates Center.

“I believed it was good for us, coming off that last heartbreaker (an 81-80 loss at Dayton on Saturday),” said IPFW guard Pierre Bland, who had five points and a team-high eight assists. “It wasn’t really on our minds. After the game, we came in, we were disappointed; we talked about it and knew we had to stay focused.”

Joe Reed led IPFW (1-1) with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Michael Kibiloski added 20 points. Steve Forbes had 14 points, and Joe Edwards scored 10.

Spencer Krhin was the only player in double figures for IU Kokomo (0-5) with 14.

IPFW played its second game without preseason Summit League second-team selection Luis Jacobo, who is out with a broken right wrist and is expected to be back in a couple of weeks, coach Tony Jasick said.

Monday’s game was the first of four the Mastodons will play as part of the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament. IPFW travels to Corpus Christi, Texas, and will play games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s the same setup that you have to play to win a conference tournament,” Jasick said. “We are going to go down and treat it just like that.”

IU Kokomo was able to hang around with IPFW in the game’s opening 11 minutes as the Cougars hit five of their first seven 3-pointers to stay within two points of the Mastodons at 22-20.

But IPFW pulled away with a 14-4 run over the next four minutes to take a 36-24 lead with 4:52 to play in the opening half, which the Mastodons finished leading 52-36.

“You got to give them credit for hitting shots in the game, but we knew our defense will wear them down as it kind of did in the second half,” Reed said. “Shots are going to go down, and you just got to keep playing every play, and I think that is why we kept that lead in the first half.”

IPFW scored the first seven points of the second half to push its lead to 59-36, and the Mastodons’ lead never fell below 21 points.

“We were able to get out in transition because of the job we did defensively,” Jasick said. “And there was a lot of unselfish plays on the offensive end.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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