Strong shooting, solid defense and a different starting lineup led Ball State men’s basketball (11-6, 2-2 MAC) over the University of Buffalo (7-10, 1-3 MAC) by a score of 92-77 Jan. 14 for their second straight Mid-American Conference victory.

Ball State stats:

Field goal percentage: 49.2

3PT percentage: 42.9

Leading scorer: Persons, Tyler, Weber - 17

Buffalo Bulls stats:

Field goal percentage: 40.5

3PT percentage: 26.1

Leading scorer: Kadiri - 23

In its last three games, Ball State has played a different lineup. Head coach James Whitford said it doesn’t matter who starts because the minutes end up being the same at the end of the game anyway.

After practice Jan. 12, Whitford said he would start whoever is the most competitive in practice.

His reasoning for not having a set starting lineup is simple. He said being in the starting lineup or not being in the starting lineup really doesn't matter too much to the team.

Today, Ball State played team basketball. In the Cardinals' win over Buffalo, six different players scored double digits and the bench had 38 points.

The Bulls did not have a lead until the 15-minute mark of the second half when they took a 49-48 lead on a C.J. Massinburg jumper.

Trading baskets, Buffalo kept the game close. With four minutes left to play, they were down only 73-70. But that did not last long, as Ball State went on an 11-point run started by senior guard Ryan Weber's 3-pointer. Weber finished with 17 points.

Ball State logged 16 assists with redshirt sophomore Tayler Persons, leading the team with six. Persons also finished with 17 points.

Whitford has spoken about defense being a key for Ball State the rest of the season. The Cardinals' defense held Buffalo to 40.5 percent shooting from the field. Coming into the game, the Bulls averaged 44 percent from the field.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulls ranked third in the MAC in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to 40.8 percent through 16 games. But the Cardinals shot 49.2 percent from the field in the 92-77 victory. 

Ball State will be in action again Jan. 17 when the leading scorer in the nation, Central Michigan’s junior guard Marcus Keene — who averages 28.7 points per game — comes to Muncie. Tip off is slated for 7 p.m at Worthen Arena.