By Brett Rump (@BrettRumpSports)
Can they turn it on for the tournament?
That’s the question facing a talented Fort Wayne Mastodons’ squad as they open Summit League Tourney play this Sunday at 9:30 pm EST against the Omaha Mavericks.
At times this season, the ‘Dons have been the best in the league. Wins over North Dakota State (77-61) and IUPUI (103-73) were examples of the potential this group has. Non-conference wins included one-sided victories over Austin Peay (98-58) and Miami (87-71).
What has been the key?
Those four games the Mastodons allowed an average of 65.8 points per game. For the season, they allow 78.7 points a game, and don’t forget they held a high-scoring (at the time) Indiana team to just 65 points in regulation.
During the non-conference schedule, the Mastodons won 12 of 15 games. In 8 of those games, the ‘Dons recorded 10 or more steals. For the season, Fort Wayne recorded 10 or more steals in 11 games…and they were 11-0 in those contests. In 14 games that they recorded 7 or less steals in a game, the Mastodons were just 5-9.
Coach Coffman talks about being in the gaps. It is five defenders working as one to help on the dribble, but also get hands on passes. It takes a lot of work, physically, and especially mentally, to execute…but when the ‘Dons have done it, they’ve been successful.
Follow the Mastodons men’s basketball team’s run in the tournament via Twitter @FortWayneMBB.