Saturday, February 03, 2018 5:20 pm
Scott, Konchar lead IPFW past Denver
JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette
There was plenty to be impressed with from the IPFW men’s basketball team’s 91-63 victory Saturday over Denver at Memorial Coliseum.
Bryson Scott totaling 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, for instance, as he relentlessly went to the basket. Or, John Konchar muscling his way to 18 points and a team-best eight rebounds, as the Mastodons (16-10, 5-4 Summit League) improved to 8-2 all-time against the Pioneers. And there was Kason Harrell, who made 4-of-8 attempts from 3-point range, keying the tone-setting early 11-0 run and finishing with 14 points.
But none of it compares to what the Mastodons did defensively. They had all 12 of the game’s steals. They forced 20 turnovers, 12 more than the Pioneers did. And when it came to points scored off turnovers, the advantage was a whopping 31-9 in favor of IPFW.
“Coming into the game, we really had to turn it up defensively,” Harrell said. “We really did a good job of making their star players inefficient. We did a good job on (Joe) Rosga and did a good job on (Daniel) Amigo, forced them to take tough shots in crowds or put them in crowds so they would make those tough passes and (our guys) would come in and take them.”
Harrell had three straight 3-pointers to complete an 11-0 run for an 11-5 IPFW lead with 15:35 remaining in the first half. And a Scott drive to the basket, followed by a Konchar steal at mid-court to set up an easy layup, made it 16-7.
The lead grew to 17 points but the Pioneers put on a little pressure before Harrell’s fourth 3-pointer made it 27-18 with 6:14 left in the half.
“My teammates just did a good job of finding me early,” Harrell said. “Earlier in the year, I was struggling with my shooting and my team gave me the confidence to keep shooting and not give up. The fact that they kept finding me helped me get into a rhythm and that helped not just me, but all of us.”
The Mastodons’ halftime lead was 42-29 – aided by an 8-0 advantage in steals, a 13-5 edge in turnovers forced and a 16-7 lead in points off turnovers – and IPFW kept things up in the second half starting with Scott’s 3-pointer for a 45-29 lead.
A Konchar block of an Abiola Akintola shot in the paint set up Scott for a hook at the other end and a 51-33 lead with 16:08 remaining.
Jake Pemberton had 12 points for Denver (10-13, 4-5).