Cards K.O. KU

Jackson's basket with 0.8 seconds left lifts Ball State to victory.

With nearly four and a half minutes remaining in the game, Theron Smith fouled out. Shortly there after, during a timeout, Ball State coach Tim Buckley began a brief pep talk with, "Fellas, I had a dream. In that dream we beat Kansas, and we beat them with Theron on the bench."

His dream came true.

Ball State did defeat No. 4 Kansas in the first round of the Maui Invitational. And they did it with Smith on the bench with a final score of 93-91.

That final score wasn't without a very interesting final minute of play however.

With 45 seconds remaining, Buckley made the decision to put the ball in the hands of Chris Williams. At the time, Ball State was trailing by three points.

With the ball in his hands, Williams buried a three-pointer, tying the game, 91-91.

"I was really pleased with him in the second half," Buckley said. "He had some troubles but he came back and hit the big shot in the end.

"He is a great shooter, a shot-maker, and that's why we brought him here," Buckley said.

Williams had 21 points in the first half and ended with 24, making only that clinch shot in the final minute.

With Williams tying the game, Kansas put the ball in Aaron Miles hand, a starting guard, to take the shot from the right side of the court. Miles mishandled the ball, turning it over to Ball State.

With the game still tied, Ball State had a bit of trouble getting the ball down court with Jayhawk pressure, but according to Buckley, that pressure played right into his play call.

Buckley said that in a timeout they had decided to give the ball to Patrick Jackson and rely on him to make the decision.

"It just so happened that he got the ball as we were advancing it up the court," Buckley said. "Because they were really pressing us they didn't have their defense set, and we wanted to take advantage of that."

Weaving in and out of defenders, Jackson worked his way to the basket to lay in a scoop shot and take the lead, 93-91, leaving .8 seconds on the game clock.

"The coach designed a play," Jackson said. "They told me when I got the ball to just make something happen. When I looked up, there was 5 seconds left. My man slipped and fell, and I saw a wide open lane. I just tried to take advantage of it."

Jackson said that the majority of the game played out much like the final seconds.

"This whole game we are just playing on instinct," he said. "I wasn't thinking about anything. I was just trying to make a play."

Along with Jackson's game winning point, the senior guard finished the game with 23 points in 32 minutes of play.

Another contributing factor to Monday's win for the Cardinals was the bench.

With temperatures nearing 90 degrees in the non-air-conditioned arena, fatigue and dehydration played a big factor.

"I kind of cramped up there in the end," Jackson said. "Lonnie had a couple of problems also."

Jackson and Buckley both accredited Tony Cox, one of the team's trainers for keeping the players in good shape throughout the game.

"Tony had out our guys in the pool about 10 minutes after workouts and really kept them full of liquids," Buckley said. The coach went on to explain that the cool water in the pool after workouts helped to break down the lactic acid in the players muscles.

It was not only the heat, but foul trouble that made a good performance from non-starters crucial in the contest. Williams, Smith and Lonnie Jones all had four fouls fairly early in the second half.

Rob Robbins, who did not start the game, ended with nine points but it was Robert Owens who was the biggest non-starter to help the Cards through the foul troubles. Owens finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Buckley and Jackson were both quite pleased with Owens' performance.

"He was very effective for us," Buckley said. "We know he can be a good player. He really did a good job tonight. He took good shots and made good decisions."

Buckley said his intensity is one thing that he and the players all appreciate.

"He plays like he's been hit by a bolt of lighting, and our guys really rely on him for that," Buckley said.

"(Owens) played outstanding," Jackson said. "I've been on him all week about being more aggressive and during that game he had that fire in his eyes."

Despite the major upset, Ball State is far from done in the tournament as the Cards will play in round two of the invite at 9:30 p.m. EST Tuesday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Jackson and Buckley both emphasized how important it is that the team re-focus and concentrate on what's next rather than dwelling on Monday's surprising win.

"The game of basketball is the game of basketball. What you have to do is play like you are in an alley and put everything behind you," Buckley said.

"I think everybody is trying to get focused," the coach said. "The first game is over with. It's time to move on and get to the next game."

"We are feeling pretty good right now," Jackson said. "We can talk about this victory when we get home, but we have to focus on what's next tomorrow."

"Basically it shows that we are a good team and that we can play with anybody," Jackson said. "We just have to go out and continue to play like this, no matter who it's against."

Buckley said that no matter who Ball State faces next, he and his team will approach the game in the same manor they did against Kansas.

"We played shirts and skins tonight," Buckley said. "If we would have of played against a Kansas jerseys we would have had problems."


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