Bobcats bounce Ball State, 85-71

Athens, Ohio -- "Lack of effort -- just a collective lack of effort."

Those were the only words head coach Tim Buckley could find to describe his team's disappointing loss against Ohio University Saturday. The Bobcats rolled to victory over the Cards 85-71.

That final score is a good indication of how the majority of the game went for Ball State.

With a final deficit of 14 points, Ball State trailed by 13 at the half and by 17 at one point in the second half. The closest Ball State could consistently keep the score throughout the second half was a deficit of 10 points. The closest the Cardinals got to Ohio was with a score of 3-2, 24 seconds into the contest. Ball State did not lead once against Ohio.

"It was a very poor performance on our part." Buckley said. "We credit Ohio; we thought the team played a good basketball game but at the same time we didn't play very well."

Part of that poor performance came in the way of shooting. Ball State finished the contest going 22-62 shooting only 35 percent from the field in the first half. The Cardinals were even more unlucky from behind the three-point arc. In the first half, Ball State shot only 18 percent, 3-16, from the three-point line. The team finished 7-30 from three-point land shooting 23 percent.

With such weak shooting, one of Ball State's stronger players for the afternoon was senior Lonnie Jones. Jones finished with 14 points shooting 5-8 from the field and going 4-4 from behind the free-throw line.

"I thought (Jones) played pretty good offensively today," Ohio head coach Tim O'Shea said.

When Buckley was asked if he was pleased with anything from Saturday's game he responded with, "no."

With the win, O'Shea said he hopes defeating Ball State will improve the team's credibility.

"This is a really significant win for us," Ohio head coach Tim O'Shea said. "In my opinion Ball State is the flagship of this league this season because of beating UCLA and Kansas. From our standpoint, when that score goes up on the board, it gives our team more credibility to have won by that margin.

"I think one of the things Ball State has to deal with is that it beat UCLA and Kansas. The teams in our league are putting a giant target on their backs. Our kids were excited to play them because you can kind of make a mark for yourself by beating them."

Throughout the game, Ohio presented a 1-3-1 defense against the Cardinals' offense. According to Buckley, the Bobcat defense didn't catch his team off guard but rather his team wasn't aggressive enough against it.

"We were passive, held the ball over our heads and locked our knees instead of driving it," he said.

"I just don't think we were aggressive enough," Jackson said.

One player who was also affected by the Bobcat defense was Theron Smith. Smith finished with only 14 points and 5 rebounds. Heading into Saturday's game he averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds a game.

"He's got to go get the ball," Buckley said. "He needs to be more aggressive. And he will be. He's a good player; he's just had a couple of games that he hasn't been as aggressive as he needs to be. It's just a matter of getting back to the things that make him a good player."

According to O'Shea, he felt good with the matchup against Smith going into the game.

"We had a good matchup," O'Shea said. "Patrick Flomo was a good match for Theron Smith. In terms of athleticism and muscle mass, they are about the same. "


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