CLEVELAND – A second consecutive close game at Cleveland State finished in the wrong column for the Purdue Fort Wayne men’s basketball program. The Mastodons fell to the Vikings 65-58 on Wednesday (Jan. 5) in Horizon League action.
Cleveland State took a quick 12-4 lead in the contest and forced the ‘Dons to chip at the deficit the rest of the half. But that is what they did. Three first half 3-pointers by Deonte Billups helped the Mastodons keep pace. An 8-1 run capped by a Bobby Planutis 3-pointer gave the lead to the ‘Dons at 26-24 at 3:20 on the clock. It was their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The 8-1 run was part of a five-minute stretch where the ‘Dons kept Cleveland State without a field goal. The ‘Dons would go to the break down 29-26 after three Mastodons earned two fouls in the first half.
Jarred Godfrey, one of the Mastodons with a pair of first half fouls, made a quick impact in the second half. He scored all eight points in an 8-2 scoring run that tied the game at 36 and forced a CSU timeout with under 15 left in the game.
The ‘Dons went up 41-38 with a five-point trip up the floor. JoJo Peterson hit a 3-pointer and a foul under the basket kept the ball with the ‘Dons with 12:46 remaining. Jalon Pipkins was then fouled and made both free throws.
However, Peterson’s 3-pointer would be the Mastodons’ last field goal for nearly eight minutes. The ‘Dons did some work at the free throw line at the same time but Cleveland State built a six-point lead during this stretch.
The Mastodons cut the deficit to two points with 5:08 left and 4:02 remaining, but it would be as close as Purdue Fort Wayne would get the rest of the way.
Godfrey finished with a team-high 18 points. Planutis added 11 points.
The contest featured nine lead changes and three ties.
The Mastodons limited Cleveland State to 43.4 percent shooting (23-of-53). Purdue Fort Wayne shot 18-of-46 for a 39.1 percent clip. The ‘Dons connected on 13-of-15 from the free throw line.
Tre Gomillion led the Vikings with 21 points.
Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 5-7 (1-3 Horizon League). Cleveland State improves to 8-3 and stays undefeated in the Horizon League at 4-0. The ‘Dons will continue their three-game road trip on Friday (Jan. 7) in a 7 p.m. tip at Youngstown State.