The Cardinals (2-2) hit timely shots and got to the free throw line down the stretch to open up a game that was tied with six minutes to go. The team drained 24 of 28 free throws for the evening, including 9 for 10 from Weber and 7 for 7 from Jeremiah Davis.
Ball State opened up a 10-point lead midway through the second half only to see Longwood storm back to tie the game at 57. Kanayo Obi-Rapu hit some key 3-pointers during that stretch on his way to a team-high 21 points for the Lancers (2-2).
But the Cardinals responded. Nate Wells found Weber for a 3, and House followed with a 3-point play as Ball State regained control. BSU then went 10 for 10 from the free throw line over the final four minutes to seal the win. Davis made four of those foul shots and had the ball in his hands a lot late.
Wells played a season high 17 impactful minutes. Ball State went to a zone defense, and the fifth-year big man helped force Longwood away from the basket. Longwood center Lotanna Nwogbo, who went for 27 points and 15 rebounds a night earlier against South Carolina State, managed just four points and five boards.
“I thought Nate Wells was unbelievable,” Whitford said. “We were having a tough time defending their dribble penetration, and it was putting us in foul trouble. That’s why we went zone. We put Nate in there, and he really clogged up the paint in that zone. I thought he made a big difference in the game.”
All 10 Cardinals who played in the game scored. Davis finished with nine points, while Bo Calhoun and Francis Kiapway scored eight each. Kiapway had all eight of his in the first half to help Ball State to a one-point lead at the break.
The Cardinals flipped the script from the previous night when they were outscored by 15 at the foul line against Eastern Kentucky. On Saturday, they outscored Longwood 24-11 at the stripe.
House went 6 for 7 from the floor and is now 14 for 16 in two games this weekend. He is averaging 15.5 points per game for the tournament, and Weber is averaging 18.
“Franko does a lot for us,” Whitford said. “He shoots a good percentage, he’s a good defender, he’s a team guy, and he takes care of the basketball. Ryan Weber had another solid game. It was a great team effort tonight.”
Ball State will close out the @EKUHoops Classic at 4:30 p.m. Sunday against South Carolina State.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)