Junior guard Tayler Persons brings the ball down the court during the game against Buffalo on Jan. 6 in John E. Worthen Arena. Kaiti Sullivan, DN
Balanced offensive attack gives Ball State bounce back win over Ohio
Ball State snapped another streak against Ohio on Tuesday night. But this time, it's one the Cardinals wanted to come to an end.
The Cardinals (11-5, 2-1 MAC) led a balanced offensive attack against the Bobcats (8-7, 1-2 MAC) in its 75-68 victory in Athens, Ohio. The victory ended an eight game losing streak Ball State had against Ohio dating back to 2011 and gave head coach James Whitford his first victory over the Bobcats in his tenure with the Cardinals.
After going down six points to start the second half Ball State went on a game best 15-2 run to go up 50-43, a lead they would not relinquish the remainder of the game.
"I though we wore them down a little bit," Whitford said in a postgame press conference. "We talked a lot after the Buffalo game about getting our pace back on offense. I thought our pace was much better today."
The Cardinals finished shooting 50 percent (28-56) and 31.8 percent from 3-point range (7-22) compared to Ohio's 37.7 percent (23-61) and 44.4 percent from 3-point range on the night. Four different Ball State players - Tayler Persons (16), Trey Moses (16), Kyle Mallers (14) and Jeremie Tyler (13) - finished in double-digits in terms of scoring.
It came after a first half where Ball State scored just 29 points on 2-11 shooting from behind the arc. While the Cardinals shot 43.3 percent (13-30) from the field to start the game, they found themselves down two points on the road after a 3-pointer from the Bobcats at the end of the first half.
Ball State has played better in the second half in a majority of its games this season, including in its 20-point loss against Buffalo. Comparatively, Whitford said he walked away more pleased with this performance compared to Saturday's 20-point Mid-American Conference loss.
"We had an outlier against Buffalo and my quest was to make sure it was an outlier," Whitford said. "[At halftime] I said, 'Hey, that's the Ball State team I know. We're down right now, we're playing a good team on the road, it's not easy to win on the road.'
"But we played the game the right way. In the second half, guess what, it was totally different, the shots went in. ... I certainly feel a lot better about [this game] and I just kind of got to make sure we stay the course."
Moses pulled a team high 11 rebounds and four assists while shooting 6-8 from the free throw line. Moses helped Ball State win the points in the paint (32-24) and rebound (39-33) battle against Ohio on the night.
"We go it in there a lot more than we had and [Moses] delivered," Whitford said. "He was a big difference in the game."
Ball State travels to Kalamazoo, Michigan next to take on Western Michigan (10-6, 2-1 MAC). The Broncos were preseason favorites to win the MAC but lost to the conference's West Division leader Toledo (10-6, 2-1 MAC) 84-61 on Jan. 9.
Contact men's basketball reporter Robby General at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rgeneraljr.