Ball State’s junior forward Franko House attempts to push past Pepperdine’s defense on Dec. 12 in Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO GRACE RAMEY
Ball State men's basketball moves to top of MAC West Division
Ball State walked into the locker room at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio, with a sense of urgency, and that urgency lead to a 73-56 victory over Miami.
The Cardinals (17-9, 8-5 Mid-American Conference) were up 32-28, but needed to find a way to beat the pressing defense of the RedHawks if they wanted to move to first place in the MAC West Division.
Behind the efforts of junior forward Franko House and freshman forward Trey Moses, the Cardinals were able to move onto victory.
Feb. 19 vs. Northern Illinois - 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Toledo - 8 p.m.
Feb. 27 vs. Eastern Michigan - 2 p.m.
March 1 vs. Central Michigan - 7 p.m.
March 4 at Northern Illinois - 8 p.m.
Moses was able to outplay the RedHawks through his passing attack. The 6-foot-9 freshman saw traps and double teams from Miami's defense but was able to find an open man often, the most memorable being a behind-the-back bounce pass to the cutting sophomore guard Francis Kiapway.
“For me, I’ve always felt like I was a really good passer,” Moses said recalling the first half pass. “I just remember seeing him under the basket, I had two on me and I didn’t know where the third defender was, so I kind of just threw it and he was ready for it.”
Moses finished with a game-high six assists.
House, appeared to be the answer to beating the Redhawks’ press by taking the ball the length of the floor during the second half. The 6-foot-6 forward's aggressiveness brought him to the foul line often.
“A couple of weeks ago, [head coach James Whitford] made me more of a ballhandler,” House said. “He saw my skill bringing the ball up the court, so he gave me more freedom with that.”
House came into the second half with only two points, but after scoring 17 points in the second half, he finished with a team-high 19 points.
House went a perfect 13-13 from the free-throw line for a career-high, as well as bringing in six rebounds.
Miami tried to make a comeback when House turned the ball over with 7:14 remaining in the second half, but the RedHawks' attempts were negated by House's strong play.
“I turned the ball over; I knew [Whitford] wasn’t going to chew me out and rip me out of the game,” House said. “He had confidence in me to make plays down the stretch.”
While the Cardinals won by 17 points, Whitford thought Ball State wasn't able to "handle the press as well as [he] would have liked.”
“[House] is one of our best ballhandlers,” Whitford said. “Overall, it was an excellent game, and I thought [House] really carried us.”
The Cardinals return to action on Feb. 19 at home against Northern Illinois in a game that will be aired on CBS Sports Network.