FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The IPFW Mastodons used a 9-1 run to turn a six-point deficit into a one-point advantage, before battling back-and-forth over the final five minutes of the game to remain perfect at home with a 62-60 win over the South Dakota Coyotes in Summit League play.
Frank Gaines led a trio of Mastodon players in double-figures with 14 points, while Luis Jacobo scored 13, and Joe Edwards 12. Mario Hines pulled down six rebounds, with Michael Kibiloski grabbing five. Pierre Bland dished out a game-high five assists in the win.
In the first half the visiting Coyotes (7-12, 3-4 Summit) ran out to a 11-2 lead through the first five minutes of the game, the largest lead for South Dakota in the contest. The Mastodons were unable to take a lead in the opening period, despite climbing to within two after a Luis Jacobo three-pointer with 7:51 to play in the half, as USD took a four-point, 30-26 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The second half remained much of the same as the Coyote lead grew to as many as seven on a Jordan Boots three-pointer with 11:55 to play in the game, before IPFW (9-11, 2-4 Summit) scored nine of the next 10 points, five of those by Gaines, taking the team's first lead at 49-48 on a Gaines free throw with 6:42 to play.
The last six and a half minutes of the game were back-and-forth, as the Coyotes took their final lead of the game at 58-57 when Brandon Bos drained a baseline jumper with 52 seconds to play.
Jacobo followed with a lay-in on the next possession, as IPFW iced the game by making 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 62-60 Summit League win.
IPFW went 24-of-56 from the field (42.9%), but hit just 2-of-15 (13.3%) from long range, converting on 12-of-15 (80.0%) from the charity stripe. South Dakota shot 41.5 percent (22-of-53) from the field, and 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from long range.
Trevor Gruis scored a game-high 15 points while pulling down seven rebounds, while Bos scored a dozen. Tyler Flack also grabbed seven rebounds, as the Coyotes out-rebounded IPFW 31-to-29 in the game.
The Mastodons return to action when the squad hosts the Kangaroos of Kansas City in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Memorial Coliseum on Saturday evening (January 19).
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