The next two games are potentially the round-robin for 2nd place, and will determine if the Mastodons are within reach of first place in the Summit League by season’s end.
By Brett Rump (@BrettRumpSports)
Currently Fort Wayne sits with a 5-4 league record as they head to Denver for a Saturday 6:00 pm tip. Both teams have 4 conference losses with Denver (6-4) having played one extra conference game. The teams played in Fort Wayne January 6th, with the Mastodons winning a tight contest 87-83, despite the Pioneers’ Joe Rosga having a career-high 27 points on 10-17 FG shooting and 5 of 9 three-point shots.
The ‘Dons got 27 from Bryson Scott (also on 10-17 shooting) and 24 from Mo Evans (6-12 three-point) in a game that saw 7 lead changes. Fort Wayne snagged 11 offensive rebounds, but converted them into just 7 points. For the game, the Mastodons out-rebounded Denver 29-27.
Both teams shot well, with both finishing at 52% from the field for the game.
The Denver game completes a 6-game stretch where the ‘Dons played five of six on the road. The four-game home-stand starts with South Dakota Wednesday at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
The ‘Dons lost a tough 66-63 game at USD to start the road stretch. The Mastodons held a 12-point lead early in the second half before South Dakota started its comeback behind Matt Mooney, who finished with a career-best 30 points.
The Coyotes are tied with Denver with a 6-4 conference record and play at league-leader North Dakota State Saturday before the trip to Fort Wayne.
The top two seeds in the tourney play on Saturday and the winner plays in the semi-finals on Monday with a day off (Sunday). The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th seeds all play Sunday and would need to win 3 games in 3 days to claim the championship and the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
That’s why the next two games are key for the Mastodons’ prospects in the Summit League tournament.
You can follow the Mastodons men’s basketball team on Twitter @FortWayneMBB