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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Western Hall (5,139) -- Macomb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 12-2, Western Illinois 6-4. Away Record: IPFW 6-7, Western Illinois 1-13. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, Western Illinois 2-1. Conference Record: IPFW 8-4, Western Illinois 3-9. Series Record: IPFW leads, 10-6.
GAME NOTES: With two games remaining on the regular season schedule, the Western Illinois Leathernecks will desperately try to put an end to a six-game losing streak as they host the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons in a Summit League tilt at Western Hall.
IPFW has won two of its last three games, but has dropped three of its past five altogether. The Mastodons easily defeated IUPUI on Saturday, 84-60, to improve to 8-4 in the conference standings. IPFW is two games back of conference leader North Dakota State.
Western Illinois has dropped six consecutive contests, and seven of its last eight games. The Leathernecks are fresh off a 64-54 defeat at the hands of South Dakota Saturday, which set them back to 3-9 in the Summit League. Only IUPUI has a worse conference record at 1-11.
IPFW holds the lead in the all-time series with Western Illinois, 10-6, which dates back to 1988. The Mastodons were victorious over the Leathernecks earlier this season in Fort Wayne, 77-64, back on Feb. 1.
The Mastodons took an 11-point lead into the intermission against Summit League basement dweller IUPUI, 36-25, and used the second half to only build on that advantage as they cruised to victory. Luis Jacobo led all IPFW players with 13 points in the contest and nine rebounds. Steve Forbes and Joe Reed each chipped in 12 points, Michael Kibiloski added 11 and both Pierre Bland and Mo Evans contributed 10 points. Bland dished out a team-high six assists and added six boards.
Jacobo has been a force for the Mastodons this season, netting a team-high 14.6 ppg on 45.1 percent shooting from the floor. Forbes is second behind Jacobo in scoring at 12.1 ppg, and Evans checks in at third with an even 10 ppg. Bland tops the squad with 116 total assists on the year, and Reed leads his team with a 5.5 rpg average. Forbes has a team-best 19 blocked shots for IPFW.
South Dakota jumped out ahead of Western Illinois in Saturday's game by six points at the intermission, and added another four points onto that lead by the time the final buzzer sounded. Garret Covington led all scorers in the contest with 19 points, contributing eight rebounds and three 3-pointers. Jabari Sandifer notched 12 points with six turnovers, and Michael Ochereobia netted 10 points in the loss.
Covington has been the most consistent scorer for Western Illinois on the season, netting a team-high 14.5 ppg on 41.4 percent shooting from the field. His scoring total is the only one in double figures for the Leathernecks this season. Covington adds 4.8 rpg, which is second on the team to Ochereobia's 5.1 rpg average. Sandifer tops the squad with 82 assists on the year.
IPFW is still fighting for a chance at one of the top seeds in the conference, while Western Illinois is trying to avoid the bottom spot. Even in Macomb, the Mastodons have the edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IPFW 76, Western Illinois 62
02/27 10:53:40 ET
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