VERMILLION, S.D. - The IPFW offense scored 84 points, the team's fifth highest scoring output of the season; however, the total was not able to match that of South Dakota, who scored 93 points, the most allowed by IPFW this season, as the Mastodons fell to the Coyotes 93-84 on Thursday evening, setting up a winner-take-all game against UMKC on Saturday.
The Mastodons and UMKC Kangaroos share matching 4-13 Summit League records, and will play on Saturday, February 25 in a battle to see who will be the eighth and final seed into the Summit League Tournament.
Tonight's game saw Frank Gaines reach the 30-point plateau for the third time in the past four games, converting on 10-of-21 shots from the field and 3-of-7 from long range, while Trey McCorkle scored 18, and Joe Edwards added 10. Jonny Marlin just missed double-figure scoring with nine points while Michael Kibiloski scored a half-dozen.
Gaines pulled down a game-high-tying eight rebounds, as the Mastodons narrowly out-rebounded the Coyotes 32-to-31. Marlin dished out five assists, with Jason Smeathers giving out four helpers in the loss.
IPFW came bolting out of the gate, and behind a pair of Gaines three-pointers, raced ahead to an 8-2 lead through the first three minutes of the game. Leading by seven at 11-4 after a Marlin three-pointer, USD scored the game's next eight points to lead by one at 12-11.
The lead changed hands four more times before the hosts pulled ahead by six on a 9-2 run, and wouldn't trail again until late in the first half when Gaines converted on a three-point play, giving IPFW a 42-41 lead, but the advantage would be short-lived, as Charlie Westbrook scored three of his game-high 35 points on a three-pointer with two seconds left in the half, giving the hosts a 44-42 lead at halftime.
USD opened the second half with a 12-4 run to lead by 10, and would not trail again in the game. Three times the Mastodons would close the gap to four, but could not climb fully back in to the game, dropping the game by a 93-84 final score, as USD made seven of its last eight free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
The Mastodons made over 50 percent of their shots for the second straight game and ninth time overall (34-of-64 / 53.1 percent) but USD converted on 22 free throws to just eight for IPFW in the loss.
Westbrook scored his 35 points behind 14-of-14 shooting from the charity stripe, and 9-of-18 from the field, while Louis Krogman scored 20 and Trevor Gruis added 13.
Tip-off for the key match-up against the Kangaroos is slated for 7:05 p.m. at the Swinney Gymnasium on the campus of UMKC.
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