The Purdue Fort Wayne season was in limbo after losing eight straight games, and the number one seed in the conference coming to Fort Wayne, Indiana to finish off the season.
The Mastodons were able to shock the Vikings, led by Jalon Pipkins with 19 points, and win 75-68 on Friday. Even on a night when Jarred Godfrey struggled to find a rhythm, going against arguably the top defense in the conference, they were able to end the losing streak.
Bobby Planutis was able to attack the rim and draw contact all night, finishing with 16 points and hit 7-7 from the free throw line. It has to give this team extreme confidence that they can beat the top team, even when their start player shoots 4-12.
Saturday was a different story, as there was no catching the Vikings by surprise. The Mastodons were leading by eight at half, but were dominated in the second half, and lost the game 67-55.
Considering how wild conference tournament play can be, this weekend has to be very encouraging for Head Coach Jon Coffman. They had an extremely competitive weekend against the best team in the conference, and now they will face off against Green Bay.
PFW is the 10 seed and will battle the Phoenix at 8:00 pm on Thursday, February 25th. The Mastodons will have their hands full with Amari Davis and Josh Jefferson. This is a great matchup and these teams are similar in a multitude of ways.
Both teams are undersized and struggle on the defensive end, which can be very beneficial for Jarred Godfrey, and he could be set up to explode in the tournament. The Phoenix are coming off a split weekend with 11 seed UIC, while the Mastodons are coming off a split with the 1 seed.
The Phoenix have already beat PFW twice, and neither game was close. Godfrey really struggled over that weekend, back in late January. Pipkins has elevated his game since that matchup, and Godfrey should have a chip on his shoulder going into this rematch.
The bench for Green Bay dominated that series, so the Mastodons will have their hands full, but now they know what to expect.
I love the potential for an early round upset for the Mastodons and we should be in for a high scoring battle. The winner of this game will face off against the 3 seed Oakland Golden Grizzlies.