FORT WAYNE – IPFW senior guard Frank Gaines has breathed this heady air before. His 26-point performance in the Mastodons’ 96-78 victory over Nebraska Omaha on Saturday at Memorial Coliseum was the seventh time this season he has been over 20. Twice this year he has hit 30 or more.
But the matching 26 scored by junior forward Michael Kibiloski is rare stuff, indeed. And by going 8 of 11 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from three-point range, the 6-foot-7 Elkhart native not only shattered his career high of 13 points set last season, but he also doubled it.
I feel like I’m capable of scoring above 13, but with the people on our team – Gaines, that’s our guy, said Kibiloski, who also established a career high for rebounds with 10. Today I guess it was just my day.
Kibiloski scored 13 in the first half, then did it again in the second to hold off Nebraska Omaha (4-14, 1-5), which fell behind by 21 points with five minutes left in the first half. Although the Mavericks got within 10 points on a couple occasions in the second half, they never seriously threatened to take over, as IPFW (8-9, 1-2) won its second straight game.
Gaines, who had 11 points and two fouls in 11 first-half minutes, relentlessly drove toward the basket in the second half. By drawing more contact than iron, he hit 14 of 14 from the free throw line to finish with his 26 points.
Luis Jacobo added 16, and Mario Hines had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
I thought we really shot the ball well, and it was primarily a result of how unselfish we played on the offensive end, IPFW coach Tony Jasick said. Of his team’s 28 baskets, 19 were a result of assists. We got a bunch of extra passes, wide-open shots, which is good to see.
Kibiloski, Jasick said, was the primary recipient of the Mastodons’ ball movement.
When you have a bunch of guys who can score the ball and a bunch of guys who are used to scoring the ball, getting them to move it and allow it to come back to them is a process, Jasick said. That has nothing to do with selfishness; that’s not it at all. When guys are used to having the ball in their hands a bunch and you put them all together, they’ve got to learn to play together and learn how to get quality shots at this level.
Kibiloski had a feeling.
(Saturday) morning in our shoot-around I got in here a little early, he said. I was hitting everything, and I was feeling good about it, even when I woke up. I got back to the gym earlier today before the game, too, and everything was feeling good. It paid off (Saturday).