The Cardinals, who came into the game against James Madison as the top 3-point shooting team in the Mid-American Conference at .430, pulled within four points on the Turner basket after trailing by 11 just a minute earlier.
Instead, Ball State couldn’t manufacture the momentum it needed from the play, and the mistakes that hounded it most of the game continued as James Madison regrouped to claim a 72-52 nonconference victory in Worthen Arena.
“It was a tough game, and we didn’t play well,” Cardinals coach James Whitford said. “We got out-played, out-hustled, out-worked and out-coached for 40 minutes. We have to regroup, learn our lessons and move on.”
“You don’t worry too much when one or two guys can shoot the ball, but we had a concern coming into this game when there are five guys who can make 3’s at nearly 40 percent,” Dukes coach Matt Brady said.
The pressure James Madison (7-3) applied on Ball State’s shooters resulted in the Cardinals (3-5) missing nine of their first 10 shots from the 3-point line. Ball State ended the game with a .261 percentage — lowest of the season — from the arc.
“They really locked on to our 1, 2 and 3 (positions) and became very physical and denied the ball,” Whitford said.
The Cardinals’ Sean Sellers, Turner and Tyler all shot 40 percent or better from the 3-point line in their first seven games, but they combined to make just 3-of-14 against the Dukes.
“You’re going to have bad shooting nights; that happens,” Whitford said. “The fact we let them beat us in so many other areas is what I’m really disappointed in.”
The trouble spots included the Dukes scoring 36 points in the paint, controlling the boards 44-27 and shooting 62.1 percent from the field in the second half when they outscored the Cardinals 42-29.
James Madison managed only four points in the paint in the first half, but Ball State couldn’t contain the Dukes inside after halftime.
“They started going inside … and scored much easier than they should have,” Whitford said. “But we had breakdowns in transition, breakdowns going for shot fakes, (we couldn’t) get the ball in the post. There were too many (breakdowns) for us.
“We weren’t playing well anyway, and then the frustration and quick jump shots became overwhelming for us.”
Turner and Franko House led Ball State on offense with nine points apiece. James Madison had four players in double figures, led by Ron Curry with 15.
The Cardinals will play next at 10 p.m. (Muncie time) Saturday at 17th-ranked San Diego State.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)