Conor Hockett

Good or bad, one word sums up the Ball State men's basketball season so far: unpredictable.

Throughout the season, ragged offensive play plagued the Cardinals. In some cases, it lost them games.

The pattern was broken against Buffalo on Saturday. Ball State's offense preserved possibly its biggest win of the season to date.

With 10:55 left to play in the second half, the Cardinals held a 53-51 advantage over the Bulls.

It was nearly an identical situation to Ball State's game against Ohio a week earlier. There was 10:53 to play and Ball State led by one point. Poorly timed turnovers and offensive execution lost the game for Ball State.

But that was then.

In Saturday's game, Ball State showed Worthen Arena something new.

The Cardinals executed their offense to perfection, scoring on nine of their final 12 possessions.

Jarrod Jones' jumper in the lane with less than two minutes to play was enough to secure the victory.

"That's what was missing for us previously in some games," coach Billy Taylor said. "Turnovers late killed us. It has been similar ball games the last five—against Morehead State, Ohio and Miami – we lost it. We did a much better job running our sets and stepping up to hit big shots late."

Ball State usually likes low-scoring games where their defense dominates, but they found a way to get it done all night.

From the opening tip, Buffalo double teamed Jones in the post. Ball State's backcourt players were forced to step up and make plays.

"Jarrod draws a crowd down there, so it really helps us out when he has five assists," Randy Davis said. "Jauwan [Scaife] was hitting shots and that gave Jarrod confidence to keep kicking it out."

Scaife finished with a team-leading 22 points on the night. Davis added 10 points and four assists.

Ball State shot 53.5 percent from the field, well above its 44.8 percent average in Mid-American Conference play.

The Cardinals have seven more conference games until the start of the MAC tournament.