FORT WAYNE – The tune-up was tuneful. To say the least.
In IPFW’s final game before Summit League play opens Thursday night, the Mastodons punished both Division III Kalamazoo and the scoreboard Saturday afternoon, getting double figures from six players and cruising to a 110-74 beatdown that sends them into league play on a six-wins-in-seven-games tear.
It also could prove beneficial down the road, tune-up or not.
I think we’re going to get a lot of good out of the video of the game, IPFW coach Tony Jasick said. We feel like there may be a team in the league that plays similar in terms of style to Kalamazoo. So in prep for that, I think it will give us an opportunity to watch some film and give us a little bit of feel for that team’s style of play.
As for IPFW (12-5), everyone got a taste, on a day when just about every cylinder hummed.
Luis Jacobo scored 18 points and was 5 of 7 from the 3-point line; Joe Reed added 18 and eight rebounds. Mo Evans scored 15, including five 3s in nine attempts. Isaiah McCray scored 14, Steve Forbes had a dozen and Pierre Bland had 12 points, nine assists and four steals.
All told, 11 players scored on a day when the Mastodons were 16 of 27 from beyond the arc, blocked seven shots and made seven steals.
Now it’s on to the conference opener against North Dakota State, which put itself on the map by knocking off Notre Dame in preconference play.
The Mastodons, meanwhile, come in 12-5 with a couple of one-point losses in the preconference.
I think we’ve done some good things, Jasick says of all that. I think there are obviously some things looking back that we wish we had done better at times. But I think overall with this group we’ll continue to improve, and I think that’s a good sign.
We feel good, but we don’t feel we’re at a state where we’re playing at our high end, so we feel every day we need to push each other in order to reach that, he says. When you get to Sioux Falls (for the conference tournament), we want to be at our high at that point. So we feel pretty good, but we can always do better.
Hard to tell that from Saturday. The Mastodons trailed twice early, 3-2 and 8-7, then took off on a 17-4 spree across the next 5 1/2 minutes to open a 24-12 lead on Bland’s steal and layup at the 11:31 mark.
Kalamazoo (5-6) – playing without 28-points-per-game scorer Mark Ghafari, who was down with the flu – made just one field goal during that span.
The Mastodons eventually bumped the lead to 37-19 before cruising into halftime on the high side of a 54-39 count. And when they opened the second half with a 10-0 run, Kalamazoo never got closer than 18 again.