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Mastodons vanish in second half

IUPUI goes on 18-0 run to win

Maybe if Dane Fife could have just found a way to stop time ...

Well, if he could have, he would have stopped it at the 10:24 mark of the second half this afternoon, right after Zach Plackemeier rained a three to put IPFW up 57-55 on downstate Summit League rival IUPUI.

Consider that the high-water mark on a day when the Mastodons generally got swamped.

IUPUI responded to IPFW's 10-2 run with an 18-0 run of its own, and left the Dons for dead 79-69.

A couple of observations on a generally grim last day of 2009:

* Fife pulled no punches in assessing his team's performance, saying bluntly that they "tanked" the last 10 minutes. He also wondered aloud if part of his team's offensive problems didn't have something to do with the fact that the Mastodons are still looking for a post presence to replace David Carson, noting that the Dons' guards, Zach Plackemeier, Nick Young and Ben Botts, weren't getting nearly as many open looks as they did when Carson was passing out of the post last year.

* With 14:43 to play in the first half, an unexpected face checked into the game for the Mastodons: Jeremy Mixon.

Mixon left the program earlier this season and then had a change of heart, and Fife elected to take him back. Thursday, he played seven minutes, went 2-for-2 from the field and scored four points.

"Mixon's gonna get limited minutes," Fife said. "He's back on the team but he's got to earn the right to get more minutes. I think he adds a different element. He's got to get back in game shape and earn more minutes."

* While Mixon is back, another player has departed. Forward Aaron Richie, dogged by injuries his entire career, decided to leave the team this week.

"We lose a tough, gritty kid," Fife said. "Aaron struggled to get playing time because of his injuries. He could never get healthy. He could never, ever get healthy in his career. It hurts because we're losing a good kid, a solid kid in the program.

"There's no hard feelings. He just said I can't do it."