Up three in the final seconds, the age-old question for teams in that situation is whether they decide to give the foul or defend straight up. That’s the question IPFW had to address in the final seconds of their game at Dayton Saturday afternoon, with the Mastodons holding an 80-77 lead after a pair of Mo Evans free throws with just over nine seconds remaining.
Following a timeout IPFW decided to foul, sending Dayton’s Khari Price to the line for a pair, and after he split those two free throws it seemed as if the strategy would work in the Mastodons’ favor. But a wild pass led to a turnover at mid-court, and Jordan Sibert’s three-pointer with less than a second remaining gave the Flyers a seemingly improbable 81-80 win.
“Just do whatever we could to get the ball back as quickly as possible,” Sibert told NBC Sports over the phone of the strategy following Price’s free throw. “Coach [Archie Miller] set up a play to get a turnover and try to get a quick bucket.”
Once the turnover occurred the Flyers wasted no time getting in position to go for the win, with Kyle Davis finding Sibert on the left elbow for the winning basket.
“I was thinking about taking the three the entire time,” said Sibert. “I knew the game situation, that a two would tie it, but I worked hard on my three-point shooting and I was very confident. I know that Kyle and Khari are very unselfish, so I knew that if I could get to an open area they would find me.
“They found me, and I was able to shoot my shot.”
Sibert finished the game with ten points, two assists and two steals, with the biggest performance of the afternoon being turned in by sophomore wing Dyshawn Pierre. Pierre finished the game with a career-high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes of action, and his play will be key this season as the Flyers look to improve their standing in the Atlantic 10.
“It was amazing,” Sibert said of Pierre’s performance. “It was just normal Dyshawn, seeing his mismatch and being able to take advantage of it. Dyshawn’s a great person and a great competitor, and today he was able to take advantage of his matchup and that’s what we’re going to need if we’re going to win games.”