Cards look for next West win

Toledo is second behind Ball State in the MAC West standings.

After a convincing win over Buffalo Wednesday, 87-63, Ball State will strive to continue to improve its record in the Mid-American Conference West division Saturday.

At 6 p.m. Ball State (16-8 overall, 9-4 MAC) will face off with Toledo (9-12, 6-6), who is currently second in the MAC West.

The two teams have already faced each other once this season, on Jan. 12. In that contest, Ball State downed the Rockets 68-59.

Even after defeating the Rockets once this season, head coach Tim Buckley expects a tough game Saturday.

"They have as good of a back court as we have in our conference in Terry Reynolds and Nick Moore," Buckley said. "They are two guys who can score in a variety of ways. They can beat you off the dribble, they can pull up, or shot-fake and pull up with one dribble."

Against Ball State earlier this season, Reynolds tallied 13 points while Moore knocked in 10 points in the Rockets' loss.

"You have to be able to play physically and at the same time you have to be able to execute," Buckley said about his team's tactic Saturday. "You have to contain their perimeter guys and you have to keep their post guys from getting a good position."

In the post for Toledo is Keith Triplett, who scored nine against Ball State in the teams' first meeting.

On Ball State's side of the ball, it was Theron Smith who lead the Cardinals to the win in January. Smith finished with 20 points after tugging down 14 rebounds. That game marked one of Smith's 15 double-doubles of the season.

One possible change from the January game is Ball State's starting lineup. For the first time, by choice, Buckley changed the starting lineup against Buffalo Wednesday. He pulled Chris Williams and startedsenior Billy Lynch in the spot.

"It's one of those things as a coach that you have to create a sense of urgency," Buckley said. "I thought we did that because we had some really good practices in terms in our defense. We have to continue to improve on the defensive end because this truly is the time of the season when defense wins championships."

One player who has aided Ball State on the defensive side of the ball has been Lonnie Jones. Jones has tallied 21 blocks in the Cardinals' last four games. He has scored in double digits the last three games coming off of a 15-point performance Wednesday against Buffalo.

"It really seems to me that the light has clicked on for Lonnie as far as him playing to his potential and what people thought about him being capable of doing all along," Buckley said. "He's realizing he is a good basketball player. He has become a great teammate. He understands how important it is to win your senior year because it is the end."


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