MEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State's upset bid falls short against No. 16 Arizona
Wildcats use 22-8 run in final six minutes to rally past Cardinals
When sophomore Chris Bond made his second free-throw attempt to give Ball State (0-1) a 7-6 lead at the 16:26 mark in the first half, the upset bid was on against No. 16 Arizona (3-0).
Over the next 30 minutes, the Cardinals led by as many as 11 points over the Wildcats, who have struggled in their first two games before Sunday evening. The final six minutes doomed Ball State as Arizona rallied for a 73-63 win.
"I was really proud of our guys' effort tonight and we really battled all game long," coach Billy Taylor said. "We did a lot of good things out there tonight and it is unfortunate we were unable to get the decision. In a lot of ways we beat ourselves as we didn't stick to our game plan for 40 minutes against a really good Arizona team."
Ball State started the game attacking from the perimeter as its first four field goals were all 3-point baskets. One 3-pointer came from senior Jarrod Jones, who came into the game shooting 0-for-15 from long range. Jones would add two more before the game was over.
Arizona was held to 33 percent shooting from the field in the first half while Ball State shot 42 percent, leading to the first half dominance.
Ball State took a 38-29 lead into halftime following a Jones dunk to end the first half. In the second half, Arizona's offense woke up leading to 44 points that Ball State couldn't fight off. Arizona outscored Ball State 22-8 over the final 6:40 of the game.
The Wildcats took a 56-55 lead with 6:07 left in the game when freshman Nick Johnson made a pair of free-throws. Arizona wouldn't surrender the lead for the rest of the game.
The Cardinals struggled to score in the second half, only scoring 25 points and finished the game shooting 40 percent from the field. The Wildcats finished by shooting 39.5 percent.
Jones, a Mid-American Conference West Division preseason selection, led all scorers by tying his career-high with 25 points and nine rebounds. Junior Jauwan Scaife added 14 points, while sophomore Jesse Berry scored 11 points. Senior Randy Davis finished with 11 assists and seven points.
The Wildcats were led by senior Kyle Fogg with 19 points and junior Solomon Hill added 16 points and 11 rebounds in the comeback victory.
A concern for Ball State heading into the game was Arizona's free-throw shooting. Arizona dominated that category, making 31-of-43 from the charity stripe, compared to just 6-of-13 for Ball State.
Redshirt sophomore Tyler Koch saw his first action in a Cardinal uniform after having to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Koch transferred from Wright State and has been recovering from hip surgery.
Ball State continues its three-game road trip to begin the season this Friday as it travels to Indiana State.