Ball State forward Franko House takes it to the basket in a game against Kent State earlier this season. House had 16 points in a comeback victory over Bowling Green on Feb. 2. DN PHOTO BREANNA DAUGHERTY
Ball State men's basketball 'best win of the year'
With 13:07 left on the clock against Bowling Green, the Ball State men's basketball team was down 53-40. The Cardinals then went on a 32-11 run en route to their victory.
“In my eyes, this was the best win of the year,” head coach James Whitford said. “It was because of the grit and determination it took in the second half.”
The aforementioned grit and determination was what pulled Ball State (14-8, 5-4 Mid-American Conference) out of its 13-point deficit late in the game.
In the second half, the Falcons were limited to 4-22 shooting from the field as the Cardinals went 12-22 as a team.
Whitford was pleased with his team's overall performance on the night.
“Our culture was completely in place,” Whitford said. “We were diving on the floor for loose balls. The entire bench was up, everybody into the game. That’s what good teams and programs have. Without it, we don’t get the win.”
Defense played a key role in the second half, as Ball State held Bowling Green to 24 points after coming out of the locker room.
“If you defend, rebound and take care of the ball, you’re going to win 70 percent of your games,” Whitford said.
Ball State had 12 turnovers in the MAC contest — this was after committing 62 turnovers in the three previous games against Eastern Michigan, Buffalo and Akron.
One aspect where the Cardinals were beat was the rebounding category, losing the battle on the boards 35-25.
“We got outrebounded badly tonight, which is a credit to Bowling Green, who is the best offensive rebounding team in the league,” Whitford said.
Zach Denny of Bowling Green scored 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds — both game highs.
The 6-foot-2 Falcons’ guard played a game-high 37 minutes — but went 0-4 from the field in the final 4:04 of the game.
Ball State now has three road wins in eight games this season. Four of the remaining nine games are on the road, including trips to MAC West rivals Central Michigan and Northern Illinois.
Currently, Central Michigan is in sole possession of first place in the MAC West Division, while Northern Illinois and Ball State are tied for second.
Ball State gets its first look at home against Northern Illinois on Feb. 20, and the teams will conclude each other's regular seasons March 4 in Dekalb, Ill.