SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Every so often, in spite of everything, the absence of footprints on this path of theirs keeps coming to the forefront for the IPFW men’s basketball team.
And so there was a reporter in the postgame Monday night, asking IPFW coach Tony Jasick a perfectly logical question after the Mastodons beat South Dakota State 64-60 to advance to the Summit League championship game for the first time.
Coach, how challenging is it to get a team prepared now to play a (North Dakota State) team that just kind of breezed through that first game, and do it in 24 hours? the reporter asked.
A bemused smile from Jasick.
I don’t know, he replied. We’ve never done it.
Plenty of options
In arguably the biggest victory in the program’s history, IPFW’s leading scorer went unaccountably missing Monday night. Luis Jacobo took just seven shots, hit just two and finished with six points and five rebounds.
Which in an odd way spoke volumes about why IPFW was where it was.
It just shows that everybody’s a threat, guard Pierre Bland said. You can’t key on one person. Like, Luis Jacobo may have had a bad night, but Mo (Evans) stepped up, Steve (Forbes) stepped up, we had a lot of players step up. You just can’t key in on one person on this team, that’s what makes it so special.
True. If Jacobo struggled, Evans was incandescent, hitting 5 of 6 3-pointers and scoring 18 points. Forbes scored 10 and took eight rebounds. Bland scored 12, grabbed four boards, passed for five assists and made three steals.
Pretty much par for the course for a team that has six players averaging between 8.1 and 14.9 points. And that has had seven different players lead it in scoring this season.
IPFW’s RPI going into Tuesday night was 124, which stood it in good stead statewide.
It was one behind Purdue (123), seven behind Notre Dame (117) and eight in front of Butler (132). Indiana State (74) led all state schools.
And North Dakota State?
Its RPI was 42.