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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette IPFW's Bryson Scott drives the ball under the basket with Marcus DeBerry trying to block him during the Mastodons' blue and white scrimmage. The senior guard averaged 16.1 points per game last season.

Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:00 am

IPFW Men's Breakdown

Schedule

Nov. 10: at Oakland, 7 p.m.

Nov. 12: Defiance, 4:30 p.m.

Nov. 15: Delaware St., 7 p.m.

Nov. 18: at UIC, 4 p.m.

Nov. 22: at Kentucky, 8 p.m.

Nov. 25: at East Tennessee State, 4 p.m.

Nov. 28: Detroit, 7 p.m.

Nov. 30: IU-Kokomo, 7 p.m.

Dec. 3: SIU-Edwardsville, 2 p.m.

Dec. 6: at Akron, 7 p.m.

Dec. 9: at Miami (Ohio), 1 p.m.

Dec. 16: Stetson, 2 p.m.

Dec. 18: at Indiana, 8 p.m.

Dec. 21: vs. Liberty, at New Orleans, 11 a.m.

Dec. 22: vs. Louisiana Tech or Alabama State, at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 28: Olivet, 7 p.m.

Dec. 30: Concordia (Mich.), 4:30 p.m.

Jan. 4: at Oral Roberts, 8 p.m.

Jan. 6: at Denver, 3 p.m.

Jan. 11: South Dakota, 7 p.m.

Jan. 13: Omaha, 7 p.m.

Jan. 17: at Western Illinois, 8 p.m.

Jan. 20: North Dakota St., 1 p.m.

Jan. 27: at South Dakota St., 5:15 p.m.

Feb. 1: Oral Roberts, 7 p.m.

Feb. 3: Denver, 2 p.m.

Feb. 8: at South Dakota, 8 p.m.

Feb. 10: at Omaha, 8 p.m.

Feb. 14: W. Illinois, 7 p.m.

Feb. 17: at North Dakota St., 3 p.m.

Feb. 24: South Dakota St., 7 p.m.

5 facts

• Coach Jon Coffman is entering his fourth season as head coach of the Mastodons.

• The team finished 20-13 last season, its second consecutive 20-win season while also participating in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, its fourth straight postseason tournament.

• IPFW was picked to finish fourth in the Summit League behind South Dakota State, South Dakota and North Dakota State.

• There are eight newcomers on this year's team including two Division I transfers who will have to sit out this season because of NCAA rules: Matt Holba (Lehigh) and Marcus DeBerry (Northern Arizona).

• The team finished fourth in the nation in scoring offense with 86.9 points per game in 33 contests and fourth in three-point field goals per game (10.7).

4 games of interest

Nov. 22 at Kentucky: A year to the date from the win over then-No. 3 Indiana at the Coliseum. It's the third of four games in the Adolph Rupp Classic.

Dec. 18 at Indiana: The final game of the three-game contract was moved up a year as the Mastodons struggled to find opponents to complete their schedule.

Jan. 4 at Oral Roberts: The “second season” begins with two games on the road as IPFW begins Summit League action.

Jan. 11 vs. South Dakota: The league home opener is the sixth of 10 games at the Coliseum. The Mastodons were 14-3 at home last season and one of the losses came against the Coyotes. It was also the only loss the team had while playing at the Coliseum.

3 key players

John Konchar, Jr., G: He led the team in minutes last year with 34.9 per game, in rebounds with 8.7 and field-goal shooting at 63.7 percent. He also finished third on the Mastodons in scoring, averaging 14.9 points, and second in assists with 3.8. He was the backup point guard last year when Mo Evans faced foul trouble, including during the win over Indiana.

Bryson Scott, Sr., G: He remains undefeated over Indiana including his wins over the Hoosiers while at Purdue. Scott finished second on the team in scoring with 16.1 points.

Kason Harrell, Jr., G: He had a breakout season last year where he started 29 of the team's 33 games and finished the season averaging 10.1 points per game and shot 43.8 percent from 3-point range and 47.3 percent from the field.

2 points of concern

Defense: Opponents shot 44.3 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from 3. “Our defense, our defense, our defense,” senior Xzavier Taylor said. “We're going to be doing that every day. We've been going through it since April and it's been nonstop, defense, defense, defense.”

Closing out games: The Mastodons had a lead in the second half of every conference game last season but finished 8-8 in Summit League play. “That was something that you look at last year where we didn't get to where we wanted to get,” Coffman said. “We needed to finish critical possessions down the stretch at the end of the season. In conference play, people shot it on us better than we wanted them to shoot on us. There are a lot of small details and a certain toughness that we have to have to get stops down the stretch of game.”

1 major issue

Communication: “We're still not communicating enough,” Coffman said after the team's Blue vs. White scrimmage Oct. 24. “That's something that when we do, we play at a significantly higher level. Some of our leaders off the court are naturally more quiet guys. It's not in their nature. We need them to be uncomfortable. I've seen some growth with that with closed-door in the office meetings with the guys all the time. We're also talking with the group. I think if you can identify a weakness, you can attack it and improve on it.”

– Aubree Reichel, The Journal Gazette

areichel@jg.net