Updated: Monday, 19 Nov 2012, 12:41 AM EST
Published : Monday, 19 Nov 2012, 12:41 AM EST
YPSILANTI, Mich. - Despite a career-high scoring effort from junior Kevin Harden, the IPFW Mastodons could not overcome a late turnover, falling 68-67 to the Eastern Illinois Panthers in the final game of the EMU "Ice Man" Classic.
Harden scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from long range, while Frank Gaines scored 15 and Mario Hines 10. Pierre Bland and Isaiah McCray each chipped in six in the losing effort.
The Panthers came out of the gate strong, leading by as many as 11 with 8:07 to play in the first half before the 'Dons rolled off eight straight points on a tip-in by Hines, a jumper by Harden, a lay-up by Gaines, and a jumper by Hines to close the gap to three nearly four minutes later.
A Malcom Herron three-pointer pushed the EIU advantage back to five at 32-27; however, IPFW scored the next six points to take a one-point lead before EIU's Alex Austin hit a jumper with 39 seconds left in the half to give the Panthers a one-point, 34-33 lead heading into the locker room at halftime.
The second half was a nip-and-tuck battle, with the largest lead gained by either team was four, as the second half saw 10 tie scores and 10 lead changes. IPFW held a two-point lead with 1:22 to play after a Gaines jumper, but that lead was cut in half by a free throw from Morris Woods.
The Panthers proceeded to steal the inbounds pass and get a quick lay-in from Sherman Blanford, giving the 'Dons the ball down by one with 21 seconds in the contest.
The Mastodons were able to secure an offensive rebound on a miss with five seconds left, giving IPFW possession of the ball underneath their own basket with 0.2 seconds on the clock. Needing a tip-in, a Mario Hines leaning attempt rattled just off of the iron, securing the EIU win.
Luis Jacobo pulled down a team-high seven rebounds for IPFW, while Hines grabbed six as the Mastodons out-rebounded the Panthers 33-to-31 in the game. Pierre Bland dished out four assists, while Jacobo had two blocked shots. Jacobo, Hines, and Isaiah McCray each had two steals in the loss.
IPFW, which had been plagued by poor free throw shooting the night before, went 16-of-20 from the charity stripe in the Ice Man finale, and hit 23-of-51 shots from the field in the loss.
The squad returns to action on Tuesday, November 20, when the team hosts Judson College in a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Memorial Coliseum.
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