Written by Joe Gabbert
Men’s basketball played their finals two home games this weekend, the first on Thursday, a win against conference team IUPUI (6-24) and the second was a tough loss in the final seconds on Saturday to IPFW (21-9).
The Mavericks started out strong, taking a lead of 20-9 and continued to outplay their opponent for most of the first half. With 2:45 left in the half the Mavericks held a lead of 35-23. IUPUI had an 11-0 run at the end of the first to cut the lead down to 1 for the Mavericks going into the locker room.
“Well it’s tough to make shots when you have turnovers. They had a quick shot, two turnovers and then the one at the rim right at the buzzer. So we were up nine with a minute 50 to go, somewhere in there, and they made the run. Two of our possessions were turnovers, and you can’t have that late in halves. We’ve been probably just above average finishing halves this year, so that’s something,” Derrin Hansen, head coach of the Mavs said.
UNO and IUPUI traded baskets for the first few minutes of the second half before the Mavs went on a 16-0 run, and never looked back. The run was in part caused by a switch to a zone defense.
“Well we played two possessions in the first half. Then at the thirty second timeout (at 13:19) we might have went to it, just a hair after that. Then they brought in a shooter and got a shot out of that, and we just kind of stayed with it except for some situational things,” Hansen said. “We haven’t played a ton of it this year, but I thought we needed it and we went with it.”
The Mavs racked up the points by playing unselfish team ball, which resulted in some fantastic looking plays. Coach Hansen said that’s what he really wants to see out of his team.
“I thought we did a really great job sharing the ball. We made some great extra passes,” said Hansen
Their second and possibly final game of the season against Fort Wayne was heartbreaking.
The game was close for the majority of the first half, with five lead changes. The Mavericks were put ahead 39-31 at one point by threes by Steffensmeier and Tyus, as well as two free throws from Simmons, who had a big first half with 12 points. However, a late run by Fort Wayne cut the lead to two at break.
The Mavs held out to a small lead most of the first half, which peaked out at nine with eight minutes to go. However, the Mastodons slowly chipped away at the lead, and by the time there was 22 seconds left in the half they were leading 80-76. CJ Carter chipped in a three to bring the Mavs within one, and after making two free throws Fort Wayne was up three. With less than ten seconds left, Steffensmeier brought the ball up, and gave it to Devin Patterson on the left wing for three points to tie the game and bring it into overtime.
The Mavs hit five of their six shots in the overtime period, but after an errant inbound pass by Steffensmeier, the Mavericks were up only by one with only a few seconds left to go. The ball was handed off to Fort Wayne center Steve Forbes, who shot a three and was given a controversial foul call on John Karhoff which enabled them to finish the game up one.
“I just have one thing to say. I shouldn’t have even been in the position to have the ref call that,” Karhoff said about the play.
“Tough way to lose when you have a guy shoot a 26 or 27 foot turnaround who is 0 for 0 from three on the year,” Hansen said.
However he wasn’t disappointed by the effort of the team’s last game
“I thought our guys really Battled. We guarded their stuff. We both made basketball plays. I just thought both teams really competed. Lots of things at the rim, lot of extra possessions by each team. I just thought it was a really great basketball game,” Hansen said.
The Mavs finished the season at 16-14 and will await their fate for post-season play. Due to their position as a reclassifying Division-I program, the Mavs are ineligible for the Summit League Tournament, the NCAA Tournament and the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). They are eligible for spot in tournaments such as the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) for postseason competition.