FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Fort Wayne was able to grab 12 offensive rebounds, and score 17 second chance points on its way to a 77-64 Summit League victory over the Western Illinois men’s basketball team Saturday evening (Feb. 1).
“We didn’t play to our character,” said head coach Jim Molinari. “If a team scores 77 we are going to lose every time. That is the reality of our team. But I give our team credit, they are getting better and better. But I love our guys, I thought they competed.”
IPFW moves into first-place in The Summit League standings after the win. The Mastodons are 6-1 in conference play and 18-6 overall. The Leathernecks fall to 9-13 overall on the season and 3-4 in league play.
The Mastodons used the first seven minutes of the game to jump out to an eight-point advantage over the Leathernecks, 17-9. WIU responded with a 9-2 run that would get the Leathernecks to within one point, 19-18, with 10:18 left in the first.
The two teams went back-and-forth over the next five minutes leading to a 29-28 IPFW lead. The Mastodons were then able to outscore the Leathernecks 12-4 over the final five minutes of the opening period, and take a nine-point lead, 41-32, into the break.
Western would use the opening nine minutes of the second half to claw its way back to within two points, 53-51, with 11:26 to play in regulation. Similar to the final five minutes of the first half, IPFW outscored the Leathernecks 12-3 to close the game and earn its sixth league victory of the season.
The Leathernecks again had four players score in double figures. Garret Covington led the way for WIU with 18 points. The Edwardsville, Ill. native also dished out a pair of assists in the loss.
Senior forward Adam Link scored more than 10 points for the second consecutive contest, finishing with 13 points while pulling down a team-best five rebounds.
Jordan Foster, a sophomore guard from Chicago, Ill., finished with three assists in 18 minutes of action.
WIU was outrebounded 32-19, and the Mastodons grabbed 12 offensive boards to the Leathernecks three. IPFW also finished with less turnovers (9-11), more assists (18-11), and more steals (5-4).
Western continues its Summit League road trip at Omaha next Saturday, February 8th, at 1 p.m.