Tayler Persons scored 15 points to lead the Cardinals, while Trey Moses had 12, including 10 in the second half. Franko House added 10 points to give Ball State a third double-figure scorer.
Alabama (2-1) led by 10 at . . .
"I thought Alabama played a really good game; I thought they had a really good game plan," Ball State coach James Whitford said. "I was really disappointed with the way we let the game get away from us."
"They got too many good looks in transition," Whitford said. "They probably made a couple more tonight that they wouldn't necessarily make every night. But that certainly had nothing to do with the outcome, only the margin."
Ball State trailed by 15 near the end of the first half, but used a bucket form House and three free throws from Tahjai Teague to cut the halftime deficit to 36-26. Teague blocked a shot in the final seconds, raced the ball up the floor and was fouled in the act of shooting.
But the Cardinals couldn't carry that momentum into the second half. Alabama opened on a 10-2 run and stretched its lead to 20 on a jumper from Riley Norris. The Cardinals used a 7-0 run of their own to trim the lead to 48-35 but could not get any closer. Alabama scored the next 11 points and controlled things the rest of the way.
Ball State made only 4 of 17 attempts from 3-point range. The Cardinals struggled with ball movement, recording just five assists in the game.
"We have the ability to really shoot the ball," Whitford said. "You wouldn't be able to tell it by looking at this box score, but that's something we do well. They were trying to force us to get to the rim, and I thought for the majority of the game we played very hesitant because of their size at the basket. We were reluctant to go in there, and I thought that was a huge difference in the game."
Alabama keyed its second-half runs by turning the Cardinals over and then converting easy baskets.
"The turnovers that really hurt us were when we turned it over four or five times in the back court against their press," Whitford said.
Teague led all players on the glass, collecting 11 rebounds in his third collegiate game.
Friday's contest was part of the Men Who Speak Up Main Event. Ball State will now travel to Las Vegas for two games at the MGM Grand. The Cardinals will play Monday against Coppin State and Wednesday against Southern Utah, with both games beginning at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 ET).
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)