A turnover with 32 seconds left in OT gave IUPUI the ball and the chance to hold for the last shot. The Jaguars (2-2) nearly threw the ball away with four seconds to play, but Boutte was able to collect it near midcourt and work his way into position for the game-winner just before time expired.
Ball State freshman Sean Sellers led all players with 22 points, right on his average through the first three games of his college career. Jeremie Tyler scored 12 points, while Matt Kamieniecki scored 11 and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.
The Cardinals (1-2) dominated the glass by a 42-28 margin but struggled to handle the ball with a shorthanded lineup. Ball State played without suspended point guard Zavier Turner, further limiting a position that was already thin with injuries to Jeremiah Davis and Tye Wilburn. Kaleb Mallory and Tyler shared the duties Saturday.
Ball State turned the ball over 25 times, including a flurry of turnovers near the end of the first half as IUPUI grabbed a 32-31 halftime lead. The Jaguars rode momentum into the second half and opened up their largest advantage at 42-34 with 15:57 to play.
“It was a hard game for us from that standpoint,” Whitford said. “Point guard is not Jeremie's natural position. It hurts us because he’s a really good scorer when we play him at the two. It put him in a tough spot, but that’s just the nature of it.”
Ball State responded from the 42-34 deficit by scoring nine straight points to regain the lead, and then the teams went back and forth for the final 10 minutes of regulation and overtime.
The Cardinals led by as many as five in the closing minutes and held a 61-58 lead with 1:50 to go after a drive and dunk from Sellers. But Archie Mason answered with a 3-point play on the other end to tie the game. Both teams had possessions in the final minute but could not score.
Ball State attacked the paint for much of the second half and did so again in overtime. The Cardinals earned four trips to the line in the extra period and scored all eight of their overtime points from the free throw stripe.
Neither team led by more than two in OT. The Cardinals were up 69-67 before Boutte tied the game with two free throws with 40 seconds left. His steal then gave the Jaguars the ball back and set up his final heroics.
“I thought our guys fought hard and competed,” Whitford said. “At the end of the day, we still had enough plays to win the game.”
Boutte led IUPUI with 16 points, while Aaron Brennan added 14 and Mason 13.
Ball State finished the game with more than twice as many free throw makes (28) as IUPUI had attempts (12). But, in the end, the turnovers proved to be the difference.
The Cardinals have a quick turnaround before returning to Worthen Arena for their final game before the Thanksgiving break. Ball State will host Grambling State at 7 p.m. Monday.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics/MRO edit)