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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:00 am

IPFW counts on newcomers

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

IPFW vs. Defiance

When: 4:30 p.m. today

Where: Gates Sports Center

Radio: ESPN 1380 AM/100.9 FM

Three IPFW newcomers scored their first collegiate points in a season-opening 85-71 loss to Oakland in Rochester, Michigan, on Friday.

Three more eligible newcomers may see additional opportunities for their first points in a blue and white jersey as the Mastodons open their home schedule against NCAA Division III foe Defiance at 4:30 p.m. today at the Gates Sports Center.

IPFW is 11-5 in home-openers since joining the Division I ranks and have won nine straight home-openers. The game will also be Jon Coffman's 100th game as the Mastodons' head coach.

Redshirt freshman forward Dylan Carl scored six points in the season-opener, and Matt Weir and Cameron Benford each scored three.

Redshirt freshmen Chris Rollins and Jordan Coblin did not play, and Jairus Stevens went scoreless in three minutes of play.

“The quicker these newcomers can get comfortable and be themselves ... and can do the little things that we've hung our hats on, the better we're going to be,” Coffman said of the newcomers at the team's tip-off luncheon. “What I'm really excited about is that this group is going to be a group that strives to get better today than they were yesterday, and I think we're going to see a significant improved team in February than we are in early November.”

The team still has two newcomers who are ineligible: Matt Holba (Lehigh) and Marcus DeBerry (Northern Arizona) are required to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules.

“We can go down the line,” Coffman said, “everyone of our newcomers has had some flashes of, 'That guy's going to be a really good player in our program.'”

Defiance and IPFW have not faced each other since Jan. 21, 1978, and Feb. 8, 1977. The Yellow Jackets won both contests.

This year's contest against the Mastodons is considered an exhibition for Defiance before it opens its season against Ohio Mid-Western on Wednesday.

Local connections on the Yellow Jacket roster are North Side graduates Davontae Kinnie and Elijah Holmes and Churubusco graduate Dakota Barkley.

Note: The game followed a 2 p.m. women's contest against Loyola Chicago. In honor of Veterans Day, the doubleheader is Military Appreciation Day. Veterans and active duty military and family members can get general admission tickets for $5. The team will don special red and yellow Under Armour shooting shirts and shoes to show appreciation for the veterans.

areichel@jg.net