IUPU-Fort Wayne (10-16) at UMKC (7-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Swinney Recreation Center (2,000) -- Kansas City, Missouri. Television: KSMO-TV. Home Record: IPFW 8-4, UMKC 2-9. Away Record: IPFW 1-11, UMKC 3-8. Neutral Record: IPFW 1-1, UMKC 2-1. Conference Record: IPFW 3-9, UMKC 4-8. Series Record: Series is tied, 6-6.
GAMES NOTES: The UMKC Kangaroos will continue a three-game homestand Thursday night when the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons come to town for a Summit League battle at Swinney Recreation Center.
There isn't much momentum for IPFW to feed off of coming into this contest. The Mastodons have lost three straight and five of their last six games as they have fallen to 10-16 overall and 3-9 in league action. IPFW is ahead of only IUPUI in the conference standings and at 1-11 on the road will need to buck a season-long trend of struggles away from home.
The Kangaroos proved to be poor hosts in the opener of this current homestand, as they routed South Dakota, 80-65, to put an end to a five-game losing streak. Though 7-19 overall, the Kangaroos have had slightly more success in league bouts than IPFW with a record of 4-8 in conference play. UMKC will wrap up its homestand on Saturday against Oakland.
The road team has come out with a win in each of the last four meetings. Neither program has ever managed more than back-to-back wins during the all- time series which is tied at six wins apiece.
IPFW really battled against North Dakota State, which is tied for second in the Summit League, last time out but came up short in a 58-54 decision. Luis Jacobo had the Mastodons within a single point with just 32 seconds remaining but IPFW failed to convert on its last three possessions to surrender the outcome.
On the offensive end of the floor IPFW is one of the Summit League's worst teams. The Mastodons rank seventh in points (65.3 pg) and eighth in field goal percentage (.423) and assists (11.6 pg). However the Mastodons are suffering from just a -0.3 scoring margin, despite teams shooting 45.7 percent from the floor. In fact the Mastodons' last seven games have all been decided by seven points or fewer. Frank Gaines (19.3 ppg) has kept IPFW afloat offensively almost by himself as the third-best scorer in the conference. Jacobo (11.1 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures on a regular basis.
UMKC was uncharacteristically explosive on offense in its win over South Dakota. The Kangaroos hit 54.5 percent of their field goal attempts overall including 12-of-24 from 3-point range. UMKC also had a 34-24 edge in rebounds and outscored the Coyotes 12-2 in points off turnovers.
The Kangaroos have been the victim of a much less pleasing scoring margin (-10.3) this season by dropping in just 61.5 points per game on 42.2 percent shooting which are the eighth and ninth best totals, respectively, in the nine-team Summit League. On defense the Kangaroos haven't been much better allowing 71.8 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting. Obviously UMKC is hoping the effort against South Dakota can be replicated down the stretch run. Someone other than Estan Tyler (11.2 ppg) will need to step up though as the Kangaroos have no other player on the roster scoring in double figures.
After failing to register more than 60 points in four straight games before the 80-point outburst against South Dakota, it is unlikely that UMKC will roll up another huge offensive effort. However on their home floor the Kangaroos might be able to put up enough to get past IPFW.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UMKC 65, IUPU-Fort Wayne 62
02/14 10:31:16 ET