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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Fort Wayne's Xzavier Taylor works his way under the defense of Central Michigan's Luke Meyer in the first half of Monday's CIT game at Memorial Coliseum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 1:00 am

Central mich. 94 IPFW 89

Mastodons' postseason stopped soon after it starts

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

A combination of IPFW men's basketball's lack of communication and Central Michigan's hot shooting brought an end to the Mastodons' season with a 94-89 loss in the first round of the postseason tournament Monday at Memorial Coliseum.

Down 90-89 with 4.3 seconds left, the Mastodons (19-15) got the ball into the hands of senior guard Bryson Scott, who drove the lane to get off a shot but was called for a charge.

In the seconds of play that followed, interspersed with timeouts, the Chippewas (20-14) went 4 of 4 from the line, boxed out on defense and secured the win.

“I saw an opportunity to get to the basket,” Scott said of the last time he touched the ball. “Coach (Jon Coffman) was saying, 'Drive it, drive it, drive it,' so I tried to drive it, and it just didn't work out. I didn't think it was a charge, but it is what it is.

“I'm just happy for my team and glad we finished how we did. Even though we finished with a loss, I'm happy that we stuck together and enjoyed each other.”

The Mastodons trailed by as many as 10 points (30-20) in the first half but got to within one at halftime. That was despite the Chippewas shooting 10 of 19 (52.6 percent) from 3-point range in the first half compared with the Mastodons' 5 of 17 (29.4 percent).

IPFW opened a four-point lead out of the break, but the Chippewas responded with a 9-0 run to go back up 54-49 with 17:28 left. The Mastodons tied the game four times in the second half before finally getting over the hump to lead 83-81 with 4:25 left.

Many of the issues were created by the proficiency of Central Michigan's transition offense. The Chippewas had a 9-2 advantage in fast-break points and 14-7 in second-chance points.

“Bryson was very good getting to the paint,” Coffman said. “A lot of times, contact, no whistle, he falls down, and now the man guarding him is getting an outlet and he's chasing. You have to switch your match-ups.

“We gave up some things to be able to manage the half-court, but we didn't transition well or communicate well enough. Our defense had gotten really good in spots this year.

“They are a good offensive team. We're a better defensive team than that.”

Scott led IPFW with 28 points, Xzavier Taylor scored a career-high 20 points, Jax Levitch had 11 and Jordon King 10.

John Konchar was held to just nine points for IPFW. He was 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

“I guess it would have to be our communication,” Taylor said. “Some of us are supposed to go rebound and others are supposed to get back, and it was just a lack of communication.”

A Kason Harrell 3-pointer gave the Mastodons the lead at 89-87, but a Luke Meyer 3 put Central Michigan ahead 90-89 with 1:16 left.

“We felt motivated,” Taylor said. “At the end of the day, we're always ready to play if it's the next game on our schedule. We're going to go out there and give it our all. It didn't happen like that tonight.”

David DiLeo led the Chippewas with 22 points, Kevin McKay had 20, Meyer 18 and Shawn Roundtree 14. Meyer was named the game's MVP.