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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 11, 2017 8:13 pm

IPFW prevails in OT

MARK SCHUTTE | For The Journal Gazette

Jon Coffman knew he was taking a chance when he put senior Mo Evans back in the game with four fouls and seven minutes still to play in IPFW’s game against Omaha.

But Coffman also knew the Mastodons’ chances at victory weren’t as great with Evans sitting on the bench.

About 12 game minutes and two massive comebacks later, Evans had scored 18 of his game-high 25 points and was still on the floor, running out the clock in a 108-101 overtime victory Saturday in front a sold out crowd at the Gates Center.

When Evans returned to the court with 6:57 to go, he had twice as many fouls (four) as shots made (two) and IPFW had blown a 14-point first half lead, trailed Omaha 78-70 and was in danger of losing a second straight home game.

"We needed him there," Coffman said. "Just to shake up the flow, put another playmaker on the floor. Had it been a tie game or two-point lead or so, I probably would have held him out four minutes or so, then ride it out. It was a little earlier than I would have liked.

"But he knows (we needed him). We put him in actions to do that, and he has a confidence about him. And I have a ton of confidence in him. It’s great to see him not put the ball in the basket early and then be able to in clutch time just step up. That’s true confidence. Those are the shooters that I like."

Evans’ return sparked a 14-0 run, which included eight points from junior Bryson Scott and 3-pointers from Evans and senior Deangelo Stewart that put the Mastodons up 84-78.

Evans later hit two straight 3-pointers to give the Mastodons a 90-85 lead and his driving layup put them up 92-90 with 1:15 to play.

"(Coffman) told me it’s my team, he told me to keep shooting and stay with your shot, we need you to be a leader," Evans said. "That’s what I did. Credit to my teammates for giving me that faith and credit to my coach for putting me in position to make plays."

Omaha, though, made one more play as Zach Johnson’s layup with 18 seconds left tied the game at 92-92. Evans then missed a three at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

Omaha (13-13, 6-7 in the Summit League) scored the first points of overtime, but IPFW (17-9, 6-6) scored the next 10, the last five coming on a tip-in by sophomore John Konchar and a three by Stewart that put the Mastodons in control 102-94. Omaha made just 1-of-9 from the field in the overtime.

"For our guys to go into overtime, where it’s always a little deflating when you have that lead and you lose it right before overtime and you had a shot to win it, I was just really pleased that our guys stepped up," Coffman said.

Evans had seven points in the overtime, making 4-of-6 free throws, to finish with 25 points and 12 assists.

"We all know nothing worth having is going to come easy," Evans said. "We’ve been having an up-and-down season, it was kind of about time that we got a great win and have one go our way."

Scott finished with 25 points and eight rebounds, while Konchar (20 points, 14 rebounds) and senior Brent Calhoun (17 points, 11 rebounds) each had double-doubles.

All three players, along with Stewart, played much of the second half with four fouls.

"Something about five players with four fouls that kind of changes the flow of the game," Evans said. "We dug deep, we stuck together and we made it happen. It was about time we gritted out and got a win. With the last couple games we have going into the tournament it gives us a lot of momentum."