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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:00 am

IPFW looks for redemption

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

IPFW at South Dakota 

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: Sanford Center, Vermillion, S.D.

Radio: ESPN 1380 AM/100.9 FM

It's a point of pride for the IPFW men's basketball team to protect its home floor.

The Mastodons haven't dropped a home nonconference game since Dec. 30, 2014, when they lost 71-57 to Cal Poly.

So when South Dakota won 68-58 at the Coliseum on Jan. 11, it left a bad taste in the Mastodons' mouth.

“It was our only home loss this year,” guard John Konchar said. “That's obviously going to get to us. We want to go out there and get one up there.”

The Mastodons (16-10, 5-4 Summit League) are alone in third place in the league and hope to inch closer to second-place South Dakota (20-6, 8-2) when they play tonight at the Sanford Center in Vermillion.

The Mastodons have momentum after back-to-back home conference wins over Oral Roberts and Denver.

“We've talked a lot about the second half of league play,” coach Jon Coffman said. “We should have tremendous confidence. We're coming out of the first (half), two possessions away from a three-way tie for first. We didn't get it done. By not getting it done, there should be some hunger and an edge to us.

“We played really good basketball last week on both ends of the floor, great defensive effort causing 20 turnovers against Denver and that led to shooting over 50 percent on 2s and 3s. That was two games in a row that we're playing at a really high level.”

South Dakota fell at Denver on Jan. 27 but are coming off two straight wins over Western Illinois and North Dakota State.

IPFW guard Kason Harrell said the team reflected on the first meeting against the Coyotes.

“We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, which gave them a lot of second-chance points,” Harrell said. “We gave up a lot of points in transition just not being back and knowing who we had. Our offensive flow was off a little bit because we weren't able to get stops.

“The key is going to be to be the tougher team on the glass. Defensively, continue to improve there, especially with our communication.”

areichel@jg.net