It took a little while for the Purdue Fort Wayne’s men’s basketball team to take control, and it created plenty of nervous moments by squandering a big lead, but the Mastodons found the cure to beat the Western Illinois Leathernecks tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
Jarred Godfrey had 20 points to lead the Mastodons to a 75-69 victory. It comes on the heels of PFW losing five of its previous six games.
PFW’s lead, which was up to 17 points with 11:37 remaining in the second half, was whittled down to 3 before order was restored with a Godfrey drive and 20 seconds remaining in the game.
PFW (11-14, 4-6 in the Summit League) got 16 points from Deonte Billups. Western Illinois (5-16, 2-9), which has lost six in a row, was led by C.J. Duff’s 13 points.
The Mastodons lead the all-time series between the teams 19-10, including an 11-3 record in Fort Wayne.
The game began to turn when Matt Holba and Godfrey made back-to-back 3-pointers to give PFW a 26-20 lead with 5:40 remaining in the first half.
Holba hit another 3 to make it 29-22 and Godfrey’s scoop at the buzzer gave the Mastodons a 37-24 halftime lead, at which point DeBerry had a game-best seven points.
Another 3-pointer from Godfrey put the Mastodons in control with a 48-34 lead with 14:54 remaining in the second half. A Billups 3, followed by a Cameron Benford drive, put PFW up 55-38.
The Leathernecks whittled away at the lead, cutting it to 57-53 on a James Claar dunk, followed by a Kobe Webster floater, with 7:50 remaining.
Billups cut off the bleeding by driving to the lane, making the basket and drawing a foul for a 62-55 PFW lead with 5:09 left.
On the next possession, a Billups pass set up Holba for a 3 and a 65-55 lead.
Western Illinois soon had the lead back down to 3 at 69-66 with 53 seconds remaining, but Godfrey answered with a drive through the lane.