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  • IPFW’s Joe Reed takes a three-point shot as Tre Burnette tries for the block. Reed scored five points.

  • Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Players on the IPFW bench jump out of their seats as Mo Evans dunks in the second half of the Mastodons’ victory over South Dakota on Wednesday night at Memorial Coliseum. Evans scored a team-high 20 points and added nine assists.

Thursday, January 07, 2016 4:04 am

Bidding fond farewell to Coliseum

Greg Jones | The Journal Gazette

It’s too bad for IPFW that Wednesday’s game was the last of the season at Memorial Coliseum.

Especially with the Mastodons improving to 5-0 at the venue with an impressive 85-65 win over South Dakota.

"This is a great atmosphere," IPFW’s Brent Calhoun said. "We just have guys who are hungry every time they step on the court to get a win."

IPFW has averaged 88.4 points per game in the five games at the alternate home site, almost 10 points higher than its season average of 79. 

The remaining home games this season will be at the Gates Center, where the Mastodons are 2-0. 

"We have always shot it well here," IPFW coach Jon Coffman said of the Coliseum. "And we don’t practice over here as much as we would like. They are excited to play here, and they love the tradition. I think there is some of that juice to how a guy carries himself and shoots the ball. I like the Gates Center as well, and we have had games where we have shot the ball well there, too."

The Coliseum has been known to cause shooting woes for some players with its wide-open backgrounds, but apparently not the Mastodons.

"Me personally, I like playing in the Coliseum," junior DeAngelo Stewart said. "It’s just a good feeling, and everybody likes playing here.

"We just use excuses, and that’s an excuse (of shooting at the Coliseum) some guys use. Our guys are just always locked in and ready to play and ready to make shots."

The Mastodons (13-4, 2-0 Summit League) put four players in double figures and were never threatened after a 21-7 run to end the first half and led 47-33 at halftime.

Junior Mo Evans led IPFW with 20 points. Three players – redshirt senior Max Landis, redshirt freshman John Konchar and Calhoun – each had 15 points. Stewart added eight points. Evans just missed on his third straight double-double, adding nine assists.

Landis started after missing the previous game as a precaution while nursing an injured foot.

It was a career high for Calhoun, who was 6 for 6 from the field and 6 for 6 in his the last game.

"Early on, we weren’t making shots from the outside, but eventually that came around and that complemented Brent Calhoun," Coffman said. "Some people may be surprised by (Calhoun, a redshirt junior), but not anybody on that IPFW bench who has seen him develop over the last 3-1/2 years. We have been waiting for him to unleash that."

And the Mastodons are coming off a 126-95 win over Purdue North Central at the Gates Center last Saturday. The 126 points are the most scored by the program since going to Division I in 2001.

IPFW, ranked No. 25 in the latest www.collegeinsider.com mid-major poll, lost to South Dakota 82-73 in last year’s Summit League tournament opener.

"This game was big because we lost against them last year," Stewart said. "That was our main focus, beating them."

The Mastodons made 33 of 63 (53 percent) from the field and outrebounded the Coyotes 43-30.

IPFW had a 44-28 advantage in the paint, 16-7 on second-chance points and 14-0 in fast-break points.

Defensively, IPFW allowed South Dakota (9-8, 1-2) to shoot only 26 of 63 (41 percent).

The Coyotes made only 6 of 12 from the free-throw line.

"In spots, we played really, really good," Coffman said of the defense. "We had plenty of breakdowns, but not fouling is a key to success. We need to continue to get better on the defensive end."

gjones@jg.net