MEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State troubled by Morehead State's NBA prospect
Kenneth Faried carries Eagles past Cardinals
Morehead State's Kenneth Faried is projected to be a late first or early second round pick in next year's NBA Draft.
It was obvious in Monday's game that the Cardinals knew about the hype surrounding the Eagles' senior forward.
Jarrod Jones, Malik Perry and Matt Kamieniecki took turns denying and fronting Faried in the post. If he did touch the ball, the Cardinals ran double and triple teams at him all game.
It slowed him down, but Faried's biggest impact was his reputation.
Every time Ball State sent extra players to defend him, Morehead State's big man dished it off to open teammates for shots. The other four guys were forced to make plays, and they stepped up.
Faried finished the game with a team-high 13 points and 15 rebounds.
"He is a great player and it was a 40-minute effort defending him," Jones said. "We had to stick to the game plan the whole game. It was just a great opportunity for both of us going out there and playing against each other."
Scouts from the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors who lined press row may not have seen the gaudy numbers they were looking for, but Faried made his presence felt.
Off a missed shot, Faried elevated above the stretched arms of both Jones and Perry to snatch an offensive rebound for a putback. Jones, who is 6-foot-9, had him boxed out on the play, but Faried's athleticism was on full display.
"He's an extremely hard worker," Jones said. "He's the main rebounder on their team and just does his role extremely well. They depend on him to get rebounds, and he just goes out there and does it."
In the final seconds, Faried made the play that saved the game for his team.
As Randy Davis drove the lane for a possible game-tying shot, Faried jumped and forced him into a no-look heave that fell short of a Ball State miracle.
Faried had two blocks to that point, but this defensive stand showed his reputation was enough to end Ball State's seven-game winning streak.