Ball State (7-4) recovered from a slow start on the offensive end, but Indiana State (6-6) thwarted every run the Cardinals made over the final 20 minutes.
Jeremie Tyler added 13 points for Ball State, while Bo Calhoun and Jeremiah Davis had 10 each. It was the first game . . .
Brenton Scott rode a hot early hand to a game-high 19 points for Indiana State, while Khristian Smith finished with 17 points and Matt Van Scyoc had 15.
“I give (coach) Greg Lansing and Indiana State a lot of credit; I thought they played a really good game,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “The way they were defending in the first half really bothered us. They were really forcing our point guards to make plays, and we struggled. We adjusted a little bit in the second half but didn’t have enough to get back in the game.”
Ball State fell behind 33-24 at the break after making 10 of 29 shots and turning the ball over 12 times. The Cardinals quickly cut the deficit to five points less than two minutes into the second half, but Indiana State answered with a 7-0 spurt to push its lead back to double digits.
That script played out again in the second half, with Ball State getting within a couple possessions and Indiana State stretching it back out. Tyler had a look from 3-point range to cut the lead to two midway through the second half, but the shot was off the mark. Smith then drained a 3 on the other end for what was essentially a six-point swing.
It was back to a six-point game at 59-53 after a Davis lay-in with 5:39 to play, but a trio of Indiana State free throws and a three from Van Scyoc pushed the lead to 12 again. The Sycamores kept the Cardinals at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Ball State finished the game 6 for 22 from 3-point range, with its two top shooters, Ryan Weber and Francis Kiapway, limited to one attempt combined.
“What we needed was more plays at the rim,” Whitford said. “We did in the second half, and that was really the right recipe for us. The thing that was disappointing was when we started to score the ball a lot better, they shot 52 percent and got 23 free throw attempts in the second half. We couldn’t get enough stops.”
The Cardinals were outrebounded (41-36) for only the third time all season and shot fewer free throws than their opponent for the first time since the third game of the season. ISU attempts 29 free throws in the game to 18 for Ball State.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)