MEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State's streak snapped by Morehead State
Seven-game stretch of victories ends after nonconference loss
With 12.8 seconds remaining and down by just two, Ball State came out of the huddle, with a chance to stretch its winning streak to eight games.
Randy Davis drove the right side of the lane, crossed over with bodies draped over him and flipped up a no-look shot with his left that barely hit the backboard.
Worthen Arena went silent — only to have the buzzer sound less than a second later — giving Morehead State the 50-48 victory and ending Ball State's winning ways at seven games.
It was obvious it wasn't the play coach Billy Taylor had in mind when he drew it up in the huddle.
"Randy had a huge lane, he got right to the front of the rim, [he] didn't go as strong as he needed to. [He] could have shot faked, jump stopped — would-coulda-shoulda — he didn't," Taylor said. "We felt good with the ball in his hands to make the right decision and unfortunately it didn't work out for us this time."
Taylor said once they inbounded the ball, the plan was to drive into any lane Morehead State's zone presented. He said if the zone collapsed on Davis, he was supposed to kick it to a shooter.
"Once we got it in, we were trying to just penetrate a gap, and if they helped we obviously could have kicked it out to [Jauwan Scaife] if they stepped over," Taylor said. "We wanted to get the ball into the paint. We definitely didn't want to just settle for a jump shot."
Morehead State (13-8, 5-3 Ohio Valley Conference) would go 0-for-7 from 3 in the first half, but in the second the Eagles found their stroke from behind the arc going 5-for-9, which brought them back into the game.
The leading score for the Eagles was Kenneth Faried, who posted a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
"We let our offense affect our defense and we typically don't do that," Taylor said. "We weren't committing guys to the offensive glass and they were still able to get run-outs in transition and get open looks.
"That's just communication, that's the simple things. Give them credit. They have a lot of shooters on the floor."
Jarrod Jones would post a double-double of his own, scoring 14 points while pulling down 10 rebounds. Scaife posted 12 points.
Ball State (13-5, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) shot only 33.3 percent (14-of-42) from the field and 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from behind the arc in the contest.
"We were trying to be aggressive and really try to get it into the big men," Scaife said. "The middle in the baseline was what was open during that zone segment they played. It seemed like we were at different places at different times."
Free throws became a problem for the Cardinals, which is one thing that they've been able to rely on so far this season. They shot just 64 percent (16-of-25) from the line.
"We didn't get enough opportunities in the painted area," Taylor said. "That allows us to get to the free-throw line. We just didn't convert our free throws."
Taylor said those nine missed free throws hurt his team's chances to continue its streak. He said in a tight ball game that just can't happen.
"You need everyone stepping up and making their free throws, taking their time and converting those free points," he said. "Obviously, they add up."