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Big Ten

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IPFW
vs. South Dakota
When: 7 p.m. today
Radio: 1380 AM

Mastodons return home looking to end losing skid

– So which IPFW men’s basketball team will it be tonight; the one that has threatened 100 points three times this season, or the one that, in seven games, couldn’t crack 60?

IPFW (8-11, 1-4 Summit League) returns to Memorial Coliseum tonight to face South Dakota (7-11, 3-3) with the hope of stopping a two-game losing streak.

The Mastodons fell at North Dakota State 67-55 a week ago, then lost two nights later at South Dakota State, 83-57.

This, after a 96-point explosion against Nebraska Omaha at the Coliseum, where coach Tony Jasick’s team is undefeated.

Jasick said the team he’s playing against dictates how many points his team scores.

“With our inexperience, we, at times – against good defensive teams – when you take quick, bad shots, it snowballs,” Jasick said. “Against teams that are average defensively, you can get away with a couple of bad possessions.”

And getting good shots – great shots, if possible – is the point of emphasis the rest of the season for the Mastodons who have two seniors in guard Frank Gaines and center Mario Hines.

It is the inconsistency of inexperience that also explains the inconsistency on offense.

IPFW scored 97 points in a three-overtime victory over Texas-Pan American on Nov. 16, but it could only muster 47 points in a loss to Eastern Michigan on Nov. 17.

Three days later, the Mastodons hammered Judson 92-22.

In all, IPFW has topped 90 points three times and been held below 60 on seven occasions.

The 65.8 points per game average ranks seventh-best in the Summit League, while the 41.2 field goal percentage and 64.2 free throw percentage are both last in the league.

“Within the offense is shot selection,” Jasick said. “That’s the biggest issue. It’s been defined to them, both on video, both in practice, and just continuing to get guys to make an adjustment; continuing to get guys to make a commitment to get a great shot every trip down.

“You look at our team, and what was our biggest issue earlier in the year? We turned it over, like unbelievably. We’ve corralled that. So now we’re getting shots instead of giving the ball to the other team. Now we’ve got to make sure we get good shots every time.”

Sophomore point guard Isaiah McCray said much of that responsibility falls on him.

“I believe it’s my job to be a floor general and let everybody know that taking every possession critically is probably one of our most important things,” McCray said. “It has to be.”

stwarden@jg.net

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