Cards fall to Miami (Ohio)

Oxford, Ohio -- In a game that Ball State trailed by as many as 17 points, it was two seconds and a couple of inches that determined the outcome.

With two seconds remaining and Ball State trailing by three points, Rob Robbins, who had not played but less than a minute up to that point, was given the responsibility of tying the game with a three-point shot.

With Theron Smith inbounding the ball, Robbins was dished the ball approximately 30 feet out. With an open look, Robbins' shot fell just a couple of inches short, bouncing off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded. Because of the missed shot, Ball State fell to Miami (Ohio) 80-77.

"It was in his range," head coach Tim Buckley said. "He can make that shot. It was online, it just didn't go in."

"We had a double screen for Rob," senior Petie Jackson said. "He got a pretty good look. That's normally Rob's range. He got a good look at it; it just came up short."

Ball State's (13-6 overall, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) biggest plague Saturday afternoon was its free throw shooting. Something that has been fairly reliable for Ball State -- going into Saturday's game averaging 73 percent from the line -- ended up hurting the Cardinals, who finished the game 4-9 from the charity stripe shooting 44 percent.

"It was a lack of concentration at the line," Jackson said. "That could have been a turning point in the game. It's just something you go back to practice and keep working on."

It was also Miami's hot shooting in the first half that lead to Ball State's halftime deficit of 14 points. Miami (8-11, 5-3) finished the first half with a shooting percentage of 66 while shooting the same percentage from behind the three point line.

"(Miami) came out and made a lot of shots early," Jackson said. "Seemed like they shot the lights out."

"I don't think it was a lack of defense at all. They made some tough shots and challenged shots."

Theron Smith finished as the Cardinals' leading scorer with 20 points. It was, however, the first time in seven games that Smith was unable to reach a double-double.

Leading the way for Miami was Doug Davis with 21 points and teammate Danny Horace tallying just one fewer point with 20.

One player, according to Buckley, who didn't play quite so well for Ball State Saturday was starting center Lonnie Jones. Jones finished the game with two points and two rebounds. Those numbers came only in the first half, as Jones didn't get any playing time in the second half. Replacing Jones in the starting lineup at the beginning of the second half was senior Brian Burns.

Burns finished the contest going 5-5 from the field to finish with 10 points and three rebounds. Burns also had one steal on the afternoon.

"(Lonnie) didn't play very well defensively for us in the first half," Buckley said. "Brian gave us a great lift. It was hard to get anyone in the game for Brian the way he was playing."


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