The Mastodons made it dramatic in the final seconds, but Purdue Fort Wayne's first conference game as a member of the Horizon League ended in disappointment with a 63-61 loss to Cleveland State.
PFW trailed by five points with 6 seconds remaining, but when the Vikings tried to heave the ball across the court on the in-bounds play it was caught by Jarred Godfrey, who was fouled as he went up for the 3-point shot. He hit all three free throws to cut Cleveland State's lead to 63-61.
When the Vikings tried to inbound across the court once again, a Cleveland State player at midcourt boosted the ball and tipped it further down the court with a volleyball-style move. The final buzzer sounded, but PFW coach Jon Coffman ran onto the court insisting the final player to touch the ball had traveled. After an official review, the referees ruled that there had indeed been a travel, and the Mastodons had one more chance to win the game.
The first inbounds attempt failed as Dylan Carl landed out of bounds when he attempted to catch the ball, and while the final attempt actually did get the ball in bounds, the three-quarters court shot fell short of the basket.
The Mastodons fell behind early minutes, though Godfrey made PFW's first basket as a member of the Horizon League just over three minutes in, cutting the Cleveland State lead to 4-2. A 3-pointer by Godfrey briefly gave the Mastodons an 8-6 lead, but Jayson Woodrich of Cleveland State replied with one of his own, and Tre Gomillion added a jumper to give the Vikings an 11-8 lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Torrey Patton gave the Vikings a 17-10 lead, and the Cleveland State lead would remain in that neighborhood until a late jumper by PFW's Deonte Billups cut the lead to 29-24 heading into the locker room.
The second half appeared to start auspiciously for the Mastodons, who forced the Vikings into a shot clock violation on the opening possession, but PFW failed to score for the first three minutes of the second half, giving Cleveland State an opportunity to stretch its lead to 33-24. The Vikings' lead grew to as much as 12 points with 13 minutes to play, but a 3-pointer by Jarvis Walker, a layup by Dylan Carl and another Walker bucket pulled the Mastodons within 42-37.
With 8:19 to play, a 3-pointer by Demetric Horton cut down the lead once more, this time to 46-43, and with 5:40 to play the Mastodons pulled within 49-48 on a Horton 3-pointer, but they never managed to retake the lead.
Godfrey led PFW with 21 points, and Bobby Planutis and Horton each scored 12.