Indianapolis, IN – This one was simple. No late game theatrics were necessary. IUPUI took control early and the defense carried them the rest of the way. The Jaguars only let off the gas after the game was decided and won 67-61.
Aaron Brennan and Ron Patterson again had strong outings. Brennan wasn’t nearly the long-range threat that he was two days ago, but still finished 15 points and 11 rebounds. Patterson had 16 with three three-point baskets and three steals.
IUPUI had a shaky start. After scoring the first seven, they gave up nine straight points. They quickly responded with another eight straight to go up 17-10. By the four-minute mark of the first half, they were up 10 points and they went into the break up 35-24. Green Bay shot just 29.6 percent in the first half and their 24 points were the third fewest IUPUI has given up in a half this season, and the fewest in Horizon League play. IUPUI held them without a 3-pointer in the first half and out-rebounded the Phoenix 25-16.
Green Bay picked up the offense some in the second half. After Green Bay blocked a T.J. Henderson shot, Kameron Hankerson scored in transition to pull the Phoenix within five. His jumper capped off a 7-0 run. Maurice Kirby immediately answered with a layup plus the foul and put IUPUI back up eight, 48-40. After another Kirby jumper with 10:50 to go, the Jaguars were back up by double figures. Green Bay wouldn’t get back within 10 until under a minute left.
The previous three games all left some feeling of uncertainty. 10 days ago at Green Bay, the Jaguars almost gave up a late lead to lose. In their next game at home against UIC, they went without a field goal for over eight minutes in the second half after dominating the first half and lost. Then, two days ago they needed a buzzer beater from Evan Hall to secure the win. This time despite only a six-point margin, it was a convincing win.
After starting the season 3-10 and allowing their opponents to shoot over 50% overall and in eight straight games, the Jaguars have bounced back. They’ve won three of four while holding their opponents to 43 percent shooting. They swept Green Bay, won back-to-back games and have evened their conference record at 3-3.
IUPUI will have three days off before playing Detroit Mercy in their final game of a four-game home stand. A win over Detroit Mercy, who’s just 2-4 in Horizon League play, would move IUPUI over .500 for the first time in the Horizon League.