VALPARAISO – All Tony Jasick could do was put his hands on his hips and shake his close-cropped haircut, or extend his hands in wonder, or stare into the Athletics-Recreation Center air in disbelief.
From fouls that were called to fouls that weren’t called to IPFW shots that circled the rim and dropped away, it was a night of frustration in a 63-52 loss to Valparaiso on Wednesday.
Despite the missed shots, missed calls and misfortunes, IPFW (5-5) gave Valparaiso (6-2) a struggle until the host Crusaders took off on a 10-0 run after the midway point of the second half.
Mario Hines’ two free throws with 10:22 left in the game got the Mastodons to within 43-41. But when Hines drove to the rim and fell to the deck with no call on IPFW’s next possession, then got off a shot through contact but again no whistle was given on the possession after that, Valparaiso scored 10 in a row to go ahead 53-41.
To compound IPFW’s frustrations, the Mastodons went nearly 14 minutes without a basket, from Luis Jacobo’s scoop shot 2:01 into the second half to Kevin Harden’s pull-up jumper off a fast break with 4 minutes remaining.
It was the opposite of the first half, when Frank Gaines carried the Mastodons with 14 points, including 4 of 5 from three-point range.
Even though he would lead the team with 19 points, Gaines managed just five free throws the rest of the night.
They played the same defense they played in the first half, Gaines said. I didn’t feel like it was any different.
IPFW made 4 of 20 shots from the field in the second half.
I thought we missed a lot of balls right around the goal, Jasick said. I thought we did a pretty good job in the second half of getting balls in the lane to the rim. We just didn’t capitalize on them for whatever reason – avoiding contact, trying to draw contact.
We’ve got to get better at finishing plays right around the rim.
Added Gaines, who discarded IPFW was called for 13 fouls in the first half to Valparaiso’s seven: We can’t make excuses. Officials don’t put the ball in the basket. It’s our job. We missed a lot of layups (Wednesday). I’d put it on the layups, not the officials.