VALPARAISO, Ind. - A nearly 14-minute stretch without a field goal during the second half was too much for the IPFW Mastodon men's basketball team to overcome, as the squad fell to the Valparaiso Crusaders, picked to finish first in the Horizon League this season, by a 63-52 final score.
Frank Gaines scored 19 points for IPFW, going 5-of-14 from the field, while Luis Jacobo added eight. Kevin Harden and Pierre Bland each pulled down six rebounds to lead the team - which out-rebounded Valparaiso 37-to-35 in the game - while Gaines set a new career-high with four steals.
Valparaiso jumped to a lead early, but could not pull ahead by more than four at any point early in the half, before IPFW took its first lead of the game with just under eight minutes to play when Gaines drained a three-pointer, forcing a Crusader timeout.
IPFW's lead grew to as many as three on the fourth and final Gaines three-pointer, giving the 'Dons a 26-23 lead with six minutes to play, as the Crusaders closed the half on a 12-6 run to take a three-point, 35-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the second half the Mastodons closed the gap to two at 38-36 on an athletic Jacobo lay-in two minutes into the stanza, and that would be the last field goal IPFW would hit for until the 4;02 mark in the game, and by then, the Crusaders had out-scored IPFW 18-8 before Harden drained a fastbreak jumper.
IPFW would climb to within as few as nine, but could not get closer as the Crusaders iced the game by making 6-of-6 free throws down the stretch in the Crusader win.
IPFW hit 16-of-51 shots from the field in the game (31.4 percent), including 4-of-20 in the second half, while converting on 5-of-12 from long range (41.7%) and 15-of-20 (75.0) from the charity stripe.
The squad returns to action on Saturday, December 8 when the squad travels to Des Moines, Iowa, to face off against the Drake Bulldgos in an 8 p.m. tip-off.
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