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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Kason Harrell, right, and his IPFW teammates took a few days off after the Summit League tourney loss to get ready for today's game.@cutline: refocuand the rest of the IPFW basketball team continue the season today against Central Michigan. in the passes to a teammate against the defense of Western Illinois' Kobe Webster during the first half Wednesday at IPFW.

Monday, March 12, 2018 1:00 am

IPFW's fallback: Chemistry

Helps forget tourney loss, get ready for Chippewas

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

IPFW

vs. Central Michigan

What: CollegeInsider.com Tournament

When: noon today

Where: Memorial Coliseum

Tickets: $1 (IPFW students free with ID)

TV: CBS Sports

Radio: ESPN 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

A Summit League tournament championship and the NCAA tournament bid is always the No. 1 goal for the IPFW men's basketball team. So falling short comes with its share of disappointments, but the chemistry the players have built over the course of the past year means any additional opportunities to play together will be cherished.

The Mastodons (18-14) will get that chance at an extended season as they play host to Central Michigan in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at noon today at Memorial Coliseum.

“When you play in these types of tournaments, you have these feelings where you didn't reach the top goals that you wanted to meet,” senior Bryson Scott said. “But having that mutual respect and having guys like each other, that plays a big part in advancing on with your season.

“I just love basketball. Whenever I have the opportunity to play, I go for it. This is what I love to do.”

The love of the game is why coach Jon Coffman recruits certain types of players. The players, he said, just have to keep their focus on the next game and focus on the positives that come from the opportunity the team has been given.

“This is a great honor,” Coffman said. “There are really good teams in it. We beat Akron, we beat Ball State in this. You get to play people who don't always want to schedule you during the regular season. I think there's a huge advantage to that.”

Following an 86-82 first-round loss in the Summit League tournament to North Dakota State last week, the team had a 15-hour bus ride back to Fort Wayne and was given a few days to rest, recover and get refocused for today's game.

“We're all disappointed with the outcome,” junior guard Kason Harrell said. “Our No. 1 goal is to make the NCAA Tournament and win the Summit League tournament. We came up short; we took a few days off to get our minds right.

“We came back Thursday and had a great practice. Everyone was high spirited, had a lot of fun just playing against each other and I really feel like it didn't take too much time to get back. Now, we're just focused on Central Michigan and trying to win the CIT.”

The Chippewas (19-14) fell to top-seed and eventual MAC tournament champion Buffalo 89-74 on Thursday.

Cecil Williams leads four players in double-digit scoring with 15.4 points along with Shawn Roundtree (15 points), Kevin McKay (11.9) and David DiLeo (11.6).

“They really, really shoot the 3. They're going to score the ball at a high level,” Coffman said. “They really take advantage of mismatches, particularly at the four (power forward) and the five (center). They get you in some funky mismatches, and they're going to take away a driver or a shooter, depending on who they have in those positions.

“Honestly at the end of the day, they're very versatile as players. We're going to have to rely a lot on our principles and have a great attack mode and put the excitement that the guys feel about getting to play in postseason and put it on the floor (today).”

areichel@jg.net