SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – They aren’t exactly a secret weapon, after 32 games. But IPFW men’s coach Tony Jasick will gladly forgo the secrecy part as long as the weapon part remains so potent.
The weapon is the combination of Steve Forbes and Joe Reed, who have emerged this season as the Mastodons’ Mr. Inside and Mr. Whatever Side You Want, and did so again in the the Summit League quarterfinals.
In an 85-47 takedown of IUPUI, Forbes scored 11 points and took nine rebounds and Reed went for eight and seven, fueling a decisive 39-22 rebounding advantage and a 48-26 domination of points in the paint.
It was another double-double night for Forbes/Reed, who have averaged 20.5 points and 10.6 rebounds for the Mastodons (23-9) this season, and who will no doubt play a pivotal role tonight as IPFW plays in the semifinals for the fourth time and tries to reach the championship game for the first time.
That’s a fact that’s lost on no one.
There’s not enough words to describe what Steve does for this team, leading scorer Luis Jacobo said last week.
He’s a huge part of the team. Without him, I don’t know if we’d have these 20 wins. You could say he’s the heart of the team on and off the court, with the passion he plays with and the way he is with everybody on the team.
In a sense, I also kind of feel like he brings the team together. Like last year, I felt like certain people would only hang with certain people. Steve hangs out with everybody. There really is not enough I can really say about him.
As for Reed though he doesn’t start, he actually averages more minutes than Forbes (25.7 to 21.3), and presents an entirely different skill set. The latter is a 6-foot-9, 295-pound low-post banger; the former a 6-9, 220-pounder who beats opponents to the glass with quickness and will.
I think (Reed) is one of those guys that flies under the radar a little bit because we have Steve, Jasick said Saturday night. I think they’re a little different. Joe Reed can play out on the floor a little bit more defensively than maybe Steve can.
But there’s no doubt he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do.
What that is, at least in part, is force turnovers on defense – the Mastodons forced 15 against IUPUI – and dominate the glass in order to turn loose their transition game.
It worked both ways on Saturday. The Mastodons outscored IUPUI 14-0 in fastbreak points, 23-9 off turnovers and 17-7 on second-chance points, thanks primarily to a 12-5 advantage on the offensive glass.
That’s compatible with their season numbers. Through 32 games, the Mastodons are outrebounding their opponents 33.9 per game to 30, forcing 12.3 turnovers per game and making 6.8 steals per game.
As for Forbes and Reed, in IPFW’s last four games, all victories, they’re averaging a combined 21.2 points and 11 rebounds.