FORT WAYNE – The audible sigh coming out of the Midwestern plains last weekend was that of the IPFW men’s basketball team after its 76-73 victory over UMKC in Kansas City.
Not only did it end an eight-game losing streak, it catapulted IPFW into the Summit League tournament.
The eighth-seeded Mastodons (11-18) meet top-seeded Oral Roberts (26-5) in a first-round game at 7 p.m. today in Sioux Falls, S.D.
It was good to get a win, said senior center Trey McCorkle, who hit 13 of 14 shots from the floor for 28 points against UMKC. We’ve been on this losing streak for a while. We were right there for so many games – losing by a couple points here, a couple points there. It’s good to get over that hump, but it’s also good to get into the tournament. That was a pretty big game for us.
IPFW coach Tony Jasick agrees that the win was critical, but that the reward is just as important.
Winning the game Saturday did a lot of good things, Jasick said. It got some of our confidence back. It might have been a big relief to our seniors who have been around and accomplished some goals, but I also think it’s big for, as many guys as we have, to get out to Sioux Falls and experience the tournament.
Although Oral Roberts has beaten IPFW twice this season, neither win was enough to convince the Mastodons that they can’t win tonight’s matchup.
Both games we played them really close, and we should’ve won at our place, senior forward John Peckinpaugh said. We took them down to the wire at their place, so I’m really excited about this opportunity we have.
This season, IPFW lost in Tulsa, Okla., 65-54, and fell at home 75-71.
I don’t think there’s any question that our team feels like and believes that we can win the game (today). I don’t think there’s any doubt, Jasick said.