Mastodons Bounce Back To Defeat Denver 91-81

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 Matt Holba made 6-of-7 from long range to record a career-high 23 points in Purdue Fort Wayne’s 91-81 victory over Denver on Saturday (Jan. 26) evening at the Gates Sports Center. The game was played in front of a sold out homecoming crowd of 1,839.

Both clubs shot better than 50 percent in the contest. The Pioneers were 33-of-59 (55.9 percent) while the Mastodons were 33-of-65 (50.8 percent). While both teams made the same amount of baskets, the Mastodons made 12 treys to Denver’s eight.

Holba missed just one shot on the night, making 6-of-7 and all five of his free throw attempts. He added seven rebounds and only one turnover on the night. The difference in the game came in the turnover column. Purdue Fort Wayne had only six turnovers while they forced 15 Denver mistakes. The 15 turnovers turned into 27 Mastodons points.

The Pioneers responded to the rowdy home crowd by taking an 11-point lead at 33-22 with 7:33 in the first half. Then the ‘Dons came alive, scoring the next 10 points. Back-to-back Holba 3-pointers helped get the ‘Dons back in it. Purdue Fort Wayne took a 41-40 lead to the break. They quickly pushed it to eight points less than three minutes into the second half. Denver would get no closer than six points the rest of the way.

Kason Harrell totaled 16 points. Matt Weir added 15 points in 22 minutes. He was 6-of-8 including a perfect 3-of-3 from three.

John Konchar had 15 points, six assists and three steals. Konchar now has 246 career steals. He passed Ken McFadden (Cleveland State, 1985-89) who had 245 career steals for second place in Summit League history. Konchar will stay in second place as the first place holder is Ken Robertson (Cleveland State, 1986-90) had 341 swipes.

The Mastodons improve to 13-10 (5-3 Summit League). The Pioneers fall to 7-15 (2-6 Summit League).

Purdue Fort Wayne is back in action on Wednesday (Jan. 30) when South Dakota comes to the gates Sports Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m.

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