Dons Win League Opener Against Conference Favorites

By Tommy Schoegler

January 10, 2014 Updated Jan 10, 2014 at 1:35 AM EDT

Fort Wayne (incnow.tv)- The best start in IPFW's NCAA Division I history continued on Thursday, as IPFW knocked off 2013-14 Summit League preseason favorite North Dakota State in each team's Summit League opener. The Mastodons jumped out to a 38-31 halftime lead, and never trailed in the second half in the 82-71 IPFW win.

The Mastodons (13-5, 1-0 Summit League) hit 20-of-21 free throws in the game - all in the second half - against North Dakota State (11-5, 0-1 Summit), who was ranked ninth in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 poll. The hosts were led by a game-high 20 points from Luis Jacobo, while Steve Forbes scored 14. Pierre Bland and Joe Edwards each scored 12 for the Mastodons.

Bland pulled down a game-high six rebounds; however, the Mastodons were out-rebounded 28-to-25. Bland and Joe Reed each dished out three assists, while Bland picked up a game-high four steals.

North Dakota State led 2-0 and 4-2, but those would be the only leads that the Bison would hold in the game. With the teams tied at eight, IPFW ran off a 17-2 run to push ahead by 15, and would not trail again in the contest.

With the Mastodons leading by 15, the Bison ran off eight straight points to cut the gap to single digits at 25-18, as the halftime margin was also seven at 38-31..

Neither team would be able to put together a significant run in the second half, as the margin stayed between nine and three for the majority of the final half.

The Bison stormed to within five at 74-69 following the team's second consecutive three-pointer; however, IPFW iced the game by hitting all eight of its free throws in the final minute of the game, holding on for an 82-71 victory.

North Dakota State was led by Marshall Bjorklund who scored 19 points, while Taylor Braun scored 16 and TrayVonn Wright 15.

The Mastodons return to action on Saturday, January 11, when the squad hosts the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Gates Sports Center.

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