Forward Kyle Mallers passes the ball to center Trey Moses during the Cardinals’ game against IU Kokomo on Nov. 29, 2016 in John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State won 92 to 52. Paige Grider, DN File
Ball State men's basketball falls to Oklahoma, 108-69
Ball State knew it was preparing for a fast Oklahoma team, but no practice scenario could prepare the Cardinals for the Sooners squad come gametime.
It was another slow start for the Cardinals, going down 16-3 and missing its first seven 3-pointers.
Unlike against Dayton, however, Ball State (0-2) couldn’t cut Oklahoma’s (2-0) lead, losing 108-69 against the Big 12 opponent.
“I thought we were terrible on every level tonight,” head coach James Whitford said in a postgame interview. “I thought our toughness and our intangibles, I thought we gave up. We were so overwhelmed by the score that we had no toughness on defense.”
Oklahoma freshman Trae Young and Brady Manek led the team in minutes. Young, last week’s Big-12 Player of the Week, finished with a double-double, scoring 22 points and 13 assists.
On the night, Oklahoma shot 57 percent from the field and 52 percent from 3-point range compared to Ball State’s 30 percent from both the field and behind the arc.
Ball State also had 13 turnovers which led to 16 Oklahoma points on the other end.
“Against teams this good and this athletic, bad shots and turnovers lead to bad things at the other end and that happened consistently all night,” Whitford said.
Ball State did have the game’s leading scorer in redshirt junior Jontrell Walker who finished with 23 points, shooting 5-8 from 3-point range. Sophomore Kyle Mallers also finished in double-digits with 17 points, shooting 4-7 from behind the arc. Combined the two nine of Ball State's 11 3-pointers.
Sophomore forward Tahjai Teague once again led in rebounds with 10 and junior center Trey Moses increased his playing time, finishing with nine rebounds of his own. As a unit, the Cardinals had 11 assists, six of which came from redshirt junior guard Tayler Persons.
Moving forward, Ball State returns to Muncie in preparation for its home-opener against Stony Brook (0-2).
It’s a tight turnaround, but just the beginning of Ball State’s early season non-conference stretch.
“I’m the one who gave us this schedule,” Whitford said. “When you do that, you have opportunity for emotional big wins and you have opportunity for embarrassing losses.
“We just got to look at it honestly and have the humility to grow from it, to get better and we should be humbled from tonight … We’ve got a game in 48 hours, so if we hang our heads, this is going to be a bad stretch.”