They aren’t a distant memory, but the Purdue Fort Wayne men’s basketball team’s early season woes do seem a memory.
Paced by Jarred Godfrey’s 20 points and five rebounds, the Mastodons defeated Eastern Illinois 74-69 tonight at Memorial Coliseum, giving PFW (6-5) victories in four straight games.
PFW made 9 of 22 from 3-point range, including 6 of 10 in the second half, to break the game open.
PFW is now 4-1 in home games, including a 3-1 record at the Coliseum and a 1-0 record at the Gates Center.
The Mastodons are 6-1 all-time against the Panthers, including a 4-0 record since 2013.
Marcus DeBerry added 12 points for PFW.
Eastern Illinois (4-4) was led by Marvin Johnson’s 16 points.
PFW’s Matt Holba was pivotal in a messy first half, strong-arming his way to a basket as he fell to the floor, having the Mastodon’s lone shot block of the first 20 minutes and hitting a crucial 3-pointer.
(Video highlights are above.)
PFW had six turnovers in the first 5:28, including one into the hands of Eastern Illinois’ George Dixon, who went the length of the court for an easy dunk and a 12-4 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Mastodons to recover, after a timeout, though, as back-to-back 3-pointers from DeMierre Black and Dylan Carl cut the Panthers’ lead to 12-11 with 12:44 left in the first half.
The game continued to be closely contested; PFW’s Cameron Benford had a tip-in just before the first-half buzzer, cutting Eastern Illinois’ lead to 33-32. At that point, PFW had shot 46.2% and Eastern Illinois 41.7%, but the Mastodons had more turnovers (12-5).
The Mastodons began to hit their stride with lockdown defense and speed early in the second half.
Godfrey went end to end for a layup and that was followed by teammate DeBerry grabbing a rebound and going the length of the court for a scoop and a 43-40 lead with 15:40 remaining.
Godfrey’s 3-pointer from the corner put PFW up 53-46 with 12:58 left. And he hit another one from the top of the arc for a 56-46 lead.
The Panthers got within 2 late, but a Godfrey 3-pointer from the corner made it 70-65 with 2:14 left.
A Josiah Wallace layup with 41 seconds left cut PFW’s lead to 70-69.
A Holba swat of a rebound to DeBerry in the offensive end, after Brian Patrick missed a 3-pointer, with 13 seconds left put DeBerry on the free-throw line, where he made it 72-69.
Holba had a dunk in the waning seconds, as PFW beat the full-court press.