The "W" didn't arrive willingly at first. But when it did, it arrived with a vengeance for the IPFW Mastodons.
In the end, the Mastodons warmed up, SIU-Edwardsville never quite did, and IPFW won going away Saturday night, 95-75.
A fistful of second-half 3-pointers, 57.4 percent shooting and good work s on the glass which produced a 37-24 rebounding edge got it done.
Four Mastodons landed in double figures, led by Luis Jacobo with 20. Pierre Bland notched a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds), Steve Forbes scored 10 and Michael Kibiloski finished with 11 -- seven of which came after halftime, when he made all three of his 3-pointers after going 0-of-4 from the arc in the first half.
It mirrored in general the Mastodons themselves, who were 3-of-10 from the 3-point line in the first half and 9-of-15 after the break.
The Mastodons (9-4) missed four of their first five shots and didn't make a field goal until the 16:03 mark of the first, when Joe Reed muscled in a contested layup and added the free throw that came with it. That made it a 7-6 game in favor of Edwardsville (2-8), which wasn't having much luck getting anything to bed down, either.
And so the Mastodons persevered.
After McCray finally gave IPFW its first lead with a three followed by a steal and layup --- and then was helped off the floor after going down on the trip back up the floor -- the lead changed hands three times, and then the Mastodons went to work. Forbes wheeled inside for a layup to give IPFW the lead back at 19-18 with 8:10 to play in the half, and that modest 7-0 run finally gave the Mastodons some breathing room.
Back-to-back threes by Jacobo and Bland fueled another 10-4 across the last 3:17 of the half, and IPFW went off with a 39-31 edge at the break.
A pair of Kibiloski threes and another by Bland in the first three Edwardsville never got closer than 12 again.