IUPUI forward Evan Hall (24) and Ball State center Trey Moses (41) battle for the ball after an attempted lay up from Hall on Dec. 3at Worthen Arena. Grace Hollars // DN
Ball State men's basketball looking in mirror after tough loss
Head coach James Whitford needs his players to focus on the next play.
After Ball State men's basketball lost to IUPUI 73-62 Dec. 3, Whitford said he was eager to watch the film to understand where the breakdowns came from.
“Our ability to come together, to not let one bad play affect the next play, was terrible,” Whitford said.
Taking a 36-29 lead into halftime, Whitford told his team it played a great first half — though the Cardinals made just 2 of 10 shots from the free throw line and senior forward Franko House sat because of two early fouls.
But in the second half, Ball State seemed to be wrapped up with previous plays that led to easy buckets for IUPUI.
“That’s, to me, the story of a lot of the second half, was us being frustrated and letting one thing that happened affect something else that happened in the game,” Whitford said.
IUPUI shot 40 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from 3-point range in the first half. In the second half, the Jaguars shot 48.4 percent from the field and 36.4 from beyond the arc.
Whitford said he was not impressed with his team’s mentality in the second half.
“The game is too fast, it happens too fast,” Whitford said. “I don’t care if you got hit [on the head] or not, you have to run back and get organized, they just banged a three. I thought that by a landslide hurt us in the second half.”
IUPUI’s senior guard Darell Combs led all scorers with 21 points, and 17 of those points came in the second half.
Ball State allowed 10 assists while only forcing three turnovers in the second half as well.
Eight games into the season, Whitford took a step back for a reality check, saying his team is not playing well right now.
“It is not like a bad game at this point, we are not that good right now,” Whitford said. “My final words to them, I said you have to ask yourself as a player, where is your inside voice, is it pointing at other people and making excuses, or are you looking in the mirror and being honest with yourself about how to get better.”
Ball State has two days to look in the mirror before Bradley University comes to Worthen Arena at 7 p.m. Dec. 6.