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Historic IPFW men’s season comes to end

Jasick

In a city thick with history, the IPFW Mastodons finally ran out of history to make.

Free-swinging Virginia Military Institute used an 18-8 run across the last six minutes of the first half to race into halftime with a nine-point lead, and the Keydets (21-12) kept the Mastodons (25-11) at arm’s length the rest of the way Saturday to knock IPFW out of the CollegeInsiders.com tournament, 106-95.

The Keydets rode D.J. Covington’s 41 points (on 16-of-21 shooting) and got 25 more from OJ Peterson, who was 6 of 9 from 3-point.

And, in a city where Civil War icons Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are buried – Lexington, Va. – ended this most historic of basketball seasons for the Mastodons.

The Mastodons’ 25 wins was a school Division I record by seven, and they also made their first Division I postseason appearance, won their first postseason game and reached the Summit League Tournament championship game for the first time.

“Probably historic in every way,” head coach Tony Jasick said. “And I know a lot of coaches say this, but it couldn’t have happened to be a better group of guys.

“Our team was off the charts in the all the critical areas. Their unselfishness … showing up every day ready to go …

“I don’t think they could have better represented their university, and what they did for IPFW can’t be measured.”

The Mastodons were led by Luis Jacobo, who finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and a steal.

Pierre Bland added 13 points, Joe Edwards 12 and Steve Forbes 10.

They led 34-33 with 6:02 to play in the first half before the Keydets closed the half with the decisive burst that pushed them in front for keeps.

IPFW trimmed the margin to four on a Joe Edwards layup with 16:54 to play, but that was as close the Mastodons would come in the second half.

IPFW went four minutes without a field goal across the middle part of the second half, enabling the Keydets to reel off 10 straight points and pretty much decide the issue.

“Our biggest fear was realized, allowing them to get out in transition,” Jasick said.

“And we missed a number of shots that we normally make.”

IPFW shot 40 of 78 (51.3 percent) but were an uncharacteristic 4 of 21 from behind the arc.

“I think there are a number of factors,” Jasick said. “No. 1, we’re on the road, and that obviously affected us.”

bensmith@jg.net

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