Men's Basketball Canada Trip - Day 6
August 16, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - With the team back in Fort Wayne after the six-day, three-game trip to Canada, we bring you the final day, and ,of the trip from the eyes of head coach Jon Coffman.
Jon Coffman - head coach
We have had an amazing experience in Canada over the past six days between the cultural exposure, sight seeing, team building, mental training sessions, and FIBA-rules basketball games. There is no doubt that we maximized our time together and our last day was no different. We woke the team up at 8 a.m., ate breakfast, departed Toronto, and hit the road for the four hour trip to Windsor for our last game of the tour against Canadian power Windsor University. We knew that Windsor would be a tremendous challenge since they defeated three Division I programs last summer and lost to their fourth opponent, Marshall University, by four. They had played Kentucky, Ohio State and Virginia Tech over the past few years. We knew that this would be a tremendous challenge on their home court and with FIBA rules.
On the way, we stopped for our pre-game meal and our last mental session of the trip with coach Ken Wertz. Watching Coach Wertz teach was an amazing experience and I believe will be invaluable for our teams' growth this year.
Despite the loss to Windsor, the day capped off a successful adventure to Canada for the 2014-2015 IPFW Basketball program. All 14 of our players played significant minutes and gained valuable game experience as well as mental toughness and leadership training. We scripted our substitution patterns to ensure that we got everyone significant game experience and saw different players in different roles with different line-ups.,
On game days, we challenged our players with distractions in order to test the skills and knowledge that we gained during Coach Wertz's mental toughness and leadershipsessions. We wanted to simulate long days, tough academic schedules, and difficult travel to see how we would perform in order to prepare for situations that we will face repeatedly during the academic year. Overall, I could not have been more pleased with our efforts during our week in Canada.
I am so excited about the learning that occurred on our Canadian Tour. The bus erupted with beeps as we crossed through customs when the players and coaches turned on their cellular data. Ultimately, the best team building experience of the trip may have been shutting down our phones for the majority of the trip. Without technology during the day, our players were forced to engage with each other which is something that we need to do more often.
Throughout the trip, we consistently maximized our days with 8 a.m. wake-up and returned to our hotel between 10 p.m. and midnight daily. With 11 of our 14 players having never traveled outside the U.S., the experience was not limited to our excursions. Watching our players manage the Canadian coins, customs, and French speaking Canadians within Toronto were as valuable as our sightseeing. Our touring highlights included visiting the CN Tower, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, Wasaga Beach, Wayne Gretzky's Restaurant, Second City Comedy & Improv Show, Niagara Falls, Hornblower Cruise, Real Sports, and Dundas Square.
In order to maximize the experience, we gave our team responsibilities and personal ownership of the trip. Each day we drew cards for the "team photographer of the day". Steve Forbes was chosen as the first photographer and Herbert Graham volunteered as the "team videographer" role for the week. Joe Reed assumed the "tour guide" role, and I was impressed with Joe's research and presentations.
My most enjoyable experience of the trip was watching the team master standup paddle boarding at Wasaga Beach. It was a shared team experience, which was yet another first for our entire team. There were a number of players who were apprehensive in the beginning, but I witnessed players helping other players overcome their fears. Ultimately, everyone got up on their boards!
We accomplished the goals that we established prior to the trip. Our priorities were to: 1: Gain a cultural experience; 2: Develop our relationships within our team and coaching staff; 3: Gain game experience for newcomers, test different line-ups and grow our new teams' chemistry on the court; 4: Develop our leadership skills, mental toughness, focus and ability to overcome distractions; 5: Experience the international game played under FIBA rules; and 6: Have well-deserved fun after an intense summer of work.
As you have followed during our trip, our players acknowledged the highlights but it was the little things and firsts that I enjoyed the most. For example, our players each wrote their family a post card in Niagara Falls, and I'm not sure that we had a single player that had ever used a postcard before. In short, I enjoyed taking on the role of "Clark Griswold" on our IPFW Vacation and appreciate all of the support from the IPFW administration in their efforts to make this foreign tour happen, the first in IPFW basketball history. Go Dons!
The Mastodons got a trip-high 16 points from Joe Reed, 15 points from Steve Forbes, and 11 from Max Landis - also a trip-high - however, it was not enough as the Windsor Lancers hit 17-of-34 shots from long distance, out-scoring IPFW 89-74 in the Mastodons' three-game Canada trip finale.
IPFW hit 32-of-75 (42.7%) of its shots from the field (BOX SCORE), and 6-of-25 (24.0%) from long range, while Windsor hit half of its 34 three-point field goal attempts, and 34-of-73 (46.6%) overall.
The two teams went back-and-forth for the majority of the first quarter, and the Lancers led by six points with 2:38 to play in the opening period, before IPFW closed the period on a 9-3 run to close the first ten minutes knotted at 20 points apiece.
The second half was a tightly-contested period, as the largest lead by either team was five points, as a Landis three-pointer with a minute to play gave IPFW a 42-40 lead into the locker room at halftime.
IPFW and Windsor traded baskets to open the second half, with Forbes scoring four points and Mo Evans two; however, the Mastodons were then out-scored 18-4 over the final six minutes of the period, giving the hosts a 66-52 lead through 30 minutes of game time.
The Mastodons fought back to within as few as 11, but could not get any closer against the Lancers, as the hosts held on for an 89-74 win.
Evans dished out nine assists while scoring seven points, blocking two shots, and picking up a pair of steals, as Jure Gunjina scored nine points in his first action of the trip.,
The trip ended for IPFW with a 2-1 overall record.