SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - It has been a season of making history for the IPFW men's basketball squad and the Mastodons did that again Monday, as they topped South Dakota State 64-60 in a Summit League Tournament semifinal in front of 6.769 fans at the Sioux Falls Arena.
The victory advances IPFW to the 2014 Summit League Championship game for the first time in program history, where it will face top-seed North Dakota State (9 p.m. EST, ESPN2).
The win gives the Mastodons 24 victories on the season, the most in a season in program history, regardless of era.
Mastodon freshman guard Mo Evans scored a team-high 18 points in the win, while Pierre Bland scored 12 and Steve Forbes 10. Forbes pulled down eight rebounds for the Mastodons, while Bland dished out five assists.
IPFW hit 24-of-59 shots from the field (40.7 percent), and 7-of-18 from long range. South Dakota State was 22-of-49 overall (44.9 percent) and 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
In front of a Sioux Falls era Summit Tournament-record 6,769 fans, the Mastodons used a 3-pointer from Michael Kibiloski and a lay-up from Isaiah McCray to push ahead just over two minutes into the game.
The host Jackrabbits fought back to take a three-point, 10-7 lead, before the Mastodons ran off 10 consecutive points, capped by back-to-back three-pointers by Evans, putting IPFW ahead by seven with nine minutes to play in the opening period.
The margin for the Mastodons reached as many as 10 when Evans hit his fourth three-pointer of the opening half, and by 10 with 1:36 to play after a Bland lay-up; however, South Dakota State closed the half with four straight points, sending IPFW into the locker room with a 30-24 advantage.
The 4-0 run that ended the first half carried over into the second, as the Jackrabbits scored the first nine points of the second stanza- closing a 13-0 streak - and SDSU led by three at 33-30.
The Mastodons quickly regrouped, and put together a run of their own, 10-3 over a two-minute span, to re-take the advantage by four following a pair of Luis Jacobo free throws. Not to be out-done, after a Forbes jumper, the Jackrabbits ran off five straight points to take a one-point, 43-42 lead with 12:20 to play in the game.
A jumper by Joe Edwards 19 seconds later gave the game its seventh and final lead change, as the Mastodons never trailed again in the contest. The aforementioned jumper triggered an 8-0 IPFW run, capped by Evans' sixth and final three-pointer of the game.
IPFW led by seven with seven minutes to play, and by six with 45 second on the clock; however, Jordan Dykstra made a three-pointer with 29 seconds to play to cut the Mastodon lead in half. After a missed IPFW free throw, Joe Reed pulled down the next missed Jackrabbit three-pointer, and a subsequent Bland free throw closed the door on the game.
Brayden Carlson scored a game-high 19 points, while Chad White added 10 and Cody Larson and Jordan Dykstra each scored nine. Larson pulled down eight rebounds, while Carlson added three steals.