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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The journal Gazette IPFW guard Bryson Scott drives against Ball State’s Sean Sellers in the first half Wednesday night at the Gates Center. Scott scored 13 points in the Mastodons’ CIT opening-round victory.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:56 am

Calhoun's big night lifts IPFW to CIT win

Aubree Reichel | The Journal Gazette

The IPFW men’s basketball team just kept finding Brent Calhoun and eventually found a way to win, topping Ball State 88-80 on Wednesday night in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament at the Gates Center.

Calhoun finished with a career-high 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting, recording his first ever 3-pointer and going 2 of 2 from the free-throw line. He was named the most valuable player of the inaugural Lou Henson Classic.

"It was very big, but I have to give all the credit to my teammates," Calhoun said. "They were finding me in great spots, giving me the ball when I’m open, and I’m finishing plays like I’m supposed to do. I’m surrounded by a great group of guys, I love to be out there with them."

Calhoun scored the first seven points for the Mastodons in the second half before Bryson Scott chipped in six straight to get IPFW within 49-47 with less than 15 minutes left.

Scott hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 8:50 left to make it 65-63 Mastodons as part of a 14-2 run.

"Some teams fall apart when they get down, but it comes down to the leadership of the four seniors on the team," Calhoun said. "We make sure everybody’s locked in on the bench, so when they get in the game, there’s no fall-offs and we stay together.

"Our guards have a really good connection and team chemistry. They know how to time things out and we just look for each other and play well together."

Ball State went on a 15-2 run in the middle of the first half to go up 29-19 with 6:16 to go in the half, but IPFW got within 41-34 by halftime.

"We had a stretch in the first half where we weren’t in rhythm offensively," coach Jon Coffman said. "How we play, unfortunately sometimes, our offensive efficiency leaks into our defensive efficiency. I wish it was the other way.

"They went on a run, but our guys stayed the course and we grinded it out and went on our own run. Our guys came to play in the second half and we reversed the order."

Mo Evans finished with 15 points and 12 assists, Scott had 13 points, all in the second half, and John Konchar, Kason Harrell and Xzavier Taylor each added 11 points.

Ball State was led by Tayler Persons, who had 18 points including the Cardinals’ first 10 of the game. Franko House added 15, and Jeremie Tyler and Ryan Weber each added 14. Tahjai Teague had 10 rebounds, and Carroll graduate Kyle Mallers finished with three points.

The Mastodons must wait until all CIT first-round games are complete before they learn who they will play next. The first round concludes today, with the second round Friday through Monday.

Notes: The Mastodons recorded their first win over Ball State in five meetings. … The game was a tribute to former Illinois and New Mexico State coach Lou Henson, one of 11 coaches to lead two different schools to Final Four appearances. It is one of four such games in the tournament, all named after legendary coaches.

areichel@jg.net