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Mastodons benefit from Canada tour

Coffman

– The IPFW men’s basketball team won 2 of 3 games on its recent trip to Canada – the Mastodons defeated McMaster 80-69 and York 86-74, then lost 89-74 to Windsor on Wednesday – but the six-day voyage was about much more than winning and losing to coach Jon Coffman.

“I thought the trip was a phenomenal experience for our guys,” said Coffman, adding 11 of the 14 players had never been outside of the country before. “We want to build leaders and this was part of their growth.”

On the trip, which was scheduled by former coach Tony Jasick, the players were asked to keep journals of their experiences, which included paddle-boarding and sightseeing, and how they could “build the IPFW brand through their actions and interactions.” And they were required to shut down their cellphones to save money and work on bonding with one another.

And, of course, there was plenty of basketball.

“The biggest benefit was there were 10 days of practice, which gave all the new players and assistant coaches a baseline of what we’re doing,” Coffman said. “Now we can all regroup and see what we did in the past and how we can implement it all in the future.

“It was great just getting the newcomers a base level of what we do and get them to know the terminology. They were thrown into the fire and now we can step away and take a deep breath.”

With little knowledge of their opponents, and playing under FIBA’s international basketball rules, which include a 24-second shot clock, the Mastodons played games that are unlike what they would have in NCAA action.

“It was a buzz saw awaiting us when you realize the different rules at play,” Coffman said.

“I felt our guys did a really good job. We were able to use a lot of different lineups and the way they call the games is different. They let you use your hands a lot more. We’ll never see what (Windsor) did but they’re never going to get every call and it was good experience to learn that.”

Against McMaster, Steve Forbes led IPFW with 19 points, and he had a team-best 27 against York.

Versus Windsor, Joe Reed had a team-high 16 points.

jcohn@jg.net

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