Purdue Fort Wayne is on a four-game losing streak after falling to Oakland with glaring defensive issues. With an 81-66 loss on Friday, followed by an 82-75 loss on Saturday. This drops the Mastodons to 5-9 in conference play and 6-9 overall.
Purdue Fort Wayne’s lack of size and inability to get to the foul line is catching up to them. While the Horizon League has been able to exploit their interior defense, they haven’t been able to combat the struggles on offense.
The Mastodons are the epitome of “live by the three, die by the three”. They rely heavily on their outside shooting, as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. Recently, this has not been able to carry them to a victory. Defenses are forcing them to take contested three-point shots, and keying in on Jarred Godfrey.
Godfrey has slowed down quite a bit after his stellar start to the season. On Friday, he had 12 points on 4-9 from the field, while grabbing nine rebounds. On Saturday, he couldn’t get anything going with 10 points and six assists, but was forcing his shot quite a bit, shooting 5-13 and 0-7 from deep.
Bobby Planutis had his best weekend of the season. He drilled four three-pointers on Friday, and totaled a season-high 16 points and six rebounds. He followed that up with another great shooting night, hitting 5-8 on three’s with 15 points on Saturday. The Mastodons need Planutis to knock down triples on a consistent basis, as he seems to be gaining confidence.
Jalon Pipkins, who has come into his own as the second star for the Mastodons, struggled with foul trouble and couldn’t get into a rhythm with only six points on Friday. Saturday’s loss was a completely different story. Pipkins went for a season-high 21 points on 9-13 from the field. But the Mastodons struggle to get consistency as a team on a game-to-game basis.
On nights where Pipkins is unstoppable, Godfrey struggles mightily, and vice versa. Free throw differential and defensive breakdowns continue to haunt the Mastodons. They were 10-14 from the line between both games, while Oakland was 38-52. That is insurmountable, and regardless of how great of a three-point shooting team they are, they need to focus on attacking the rim and forcing officials to blow the whistle.
The Mastodons will hit the road and take on a red-hot Detroit Mercy team this weekend, as they look to leave their losing ways at home. The Mastodons will have their hands full trying to slow down Antoine Davis and Bul Kuol. Godfrey and Pipkins need to put the team on their backs as they look to right the ship and get back in the win column.