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Deilvez Yearby slams down a bucket during the first half of IPFW’s win over North Dakota on Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
IPFW 73, North Dakota 52

Mastodons present baby Fife with win

So here are some things that happened on the weekend Little Miss Fife was born:

Nick Daniels scored 19 points and stuck five three-pointers Saturday for IPFW.

Ben Botts scored 15 and made five threes in nine attempts.

Deilvez Yearby had 13 points and nine rebounds. Antwone Snead scored 17 points, including nine straight in the second half. IPFW shot 55 percent in the first half, made North Dakota pay for its zone defense with 11 threes, and harassed the Fighting Sioux into 30 percent shooting in a 73-52 rout that was close only until Daniels slung in a triple on the first shot of the game.

You can put all that in the baby book for IPFW men’s basketball coach Dane Fife and his wife, Blair, whose first child, a daughter, was born Saturday afternoon while all of the above was going on in front of 1,803 in Memorial Coliseum.

“All I told him in my last text is as a coach, as a friend, if you can, don’t worry about the game,’ said associate head coach Tony Jasick, who has two kids of his own and found out he’d be coaching his first Division I game about 11 a.m. “We’ll do the best we can, just enjoy this time with your wife and new baby when she comes.

“I’m really glad, for him and for our team, that for the rest of his daughter’s life today will be a good day.”

A very good day, as it turns out. Coming off a disheartening one-point loss at Toledo on Thursday, the Mastodons (3-5) put North Dakota (1-10) on its back with Daniels’ first salvo and never let the Fighting Sioux off the canvas, running out to an 18-4 lead as North Dakota missed 12 of its first 13 shots.

IPFW ran the lead to as much as 23 in the first half before going into halftime with a 20-point lead, at 40-20.

“I thought we did a really good job in the first half of disrupting what they were trying to do,” Jasick said. “Against the zone, we really wanted to attack it with a purpose, not just attack it to attack it, and our guys did a good job.

“We knew that zone was coming and hoped we would be able to get the ball inside around the free-throw line to Deilvez, Antwone and Trey, and that would open it up for Zach, Ben and Nick.”

They wound up shooting North Dakota out of the game, with help from a revived defense and an offense that had 18 assists.

“The other night, I thought we lost our focus on what we’ve been working on all fall and all summer,” Daniels said. “We got back to basics, and today it showed.”

And what a day for it to show, right, guys?

“Yeah, I actually found out about (coach Fife) on the way here,” Snead said. “It was a definitely another incentive for us to go out there and compete and really work hard.”

Note: IPFW sophomore guard Jeremy Mixon, who was averaging 10.3 points and 18.3 minutes in seven games, has left the team in a mutual agreement, Jasick said.

“Our program is headed in one direction, and Jeremy didn’t feel like that was the right direction for him,” Jasick said. “As of right now, we’ve parted ways. It’s kind of an open-ended deal; we’ll see where it goes from here. But as of right now, our team is the team that was out there tonight.”

bensmith@jg.net

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