Ball State's forward Franko House attempts to push past Indiana State's players during the game on Nov. 15 in Worthen Arena. The Cardinals lost 74-80. Grace Ramey // DN
Ball State men's basketball falls to in-state rival Indiana State in home opener
Ball State forced overtime in its home opener against Indiana State, but the Cardinals couldn't overcome cold shooting and sloppy play in its 80-74 loss.
Junior guard Francis Kiapway, junior forward Sean Sellers and senior guard Ryan Weber went for a combined 4-24 shooting and only scored 13 total points. A slow start on the offensive side of the ball led to problems for Ball State all night.
Head coach James Whitford blamed himself and the team for the sloppy first half of play.
“Well 11 turnovers in the first half, that is on the head coach and the players,” Whitford said. “That was the biggest thing on the offensive end, allowing us to free up a little bit to move the ball, we had so many bad turnovers to start the game.”
The turnovers in the beginning of the game made it difficult for Ball State to get into a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.
“We were having a tough time getting our offense entered and that’s were a lot of the turnovers came from,” Whitford said.
The Cardinals only had 10 assists against the Sycamores after having 21 assists against Saint Louis in its season opener Nov. 11.
Whitford always wants to get more ball movement, but he said Indiana State made it difficult to pass the ball.
“A lot of that [ball movement] is the way they play,” Whitford said. “They deny passes everywhere, and because of that they force you to make plays.”
Junior guard Tayler Persons led the team with 26 points, but he felt he let the team down.
“I am more disappointed with having six turnovers,” Persons said. “Being a point guard, I know I have to take care of that first.”
Senior forward Franko House added a double-double scoring 21 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.
“We have to make [Indiana State] pay a price for doing what they did and we weren’t able to do that tonight,” Whitford said. “When they chose to guard the pick and roll with no help, that is why [House and Persons] have 26 and 21.”
Defensively, however, Ball State allowed Indiana State to hit 47.5 percent of its shots from the field.
The Cardinals next matchup will be Nov. 18 at Alabama as part of the MGM Grand Main Event.