Cards fall to Bowling Green, 61-57; lose fifth-straight for first time in 16 years.

BOWLING GREEN, OHIO -- Midway into the second half, Ball State finally took the lead. They led the Falcons by five points and seemed to be charging onward.

At that point, after a timeout, Bowling Green coach Dan Dakich broke from the huddle, looked around, raised his hands and began to coach his fans -- coach them for noise, for support and most of all, for distraction.

It worked.

Referring to his team as an unexperienced race car driver paying too much attention to the "wall," Ball State coach Tim Buckley said his team hit the wall by paying too much attention to distractions, losing to Bowling Green, 61-57.

"There are so many guys that have never been in these situations before," Buckley said of the atmosphere. "They are learning about what it's like to play in the MAC.

"When a team like Bowling Green comes at you, and they are physical, you have to go right back at them. (When) you get into an environment like this and it's hostile, your focus has to be on what the game plan is, it can't be on those outside factors," he said.

Despite a poor shooting effort from both teams, Bowling Green marked its third straight conference win and Ball State (5-7) marked its second straight conference loss, fifth straight loss overall.

The five-game skid, marks the third-longest losing streak since the '78-'79 season. It also marks only the second time Ball State has encountered five losses in succession in the last 15 years. As far as conference losses go, Tuesday's game was the first time since the '90-'91 season Ball State has started a conference season at 0-2.

"There aren't ten teams in this country that would have won at Dayton, at Xavier and against Indiana," Buckley said of the consecutive losses. "I can't look at that. We are inexperienced and we are young.

"With our team where it's at right now we can't focus on five in a row, two in a row, or whatever it is, we just have to go out and play," Buckley said.

Bowling Green's win was what Dakich later called something "that was pretty ugly."

And ugly it was.

The Falcons shot only 18 of 46 from the field and 1 of 8 from 3-point land.

The Cardinals were even worse, making just 19-of-56 shots. Neither team hit a 3-point shot in the first half and the game finished with Ball State hitting only two baskets from behind the arc in 18 attempts.

"I think it's a great place to shoot," Buckley said. "I think the rims are kind. We just missed shots. We got good shots, we just missed them."

Ball State shot 40 percent from the field in the second half, led mostly by senior Chris Williams. Much like he did against Akron on Saturday, the majority of his baskets came in the second half.

Williams, who had only three points in the first half Tuesday night, finished with 26.

It is the second game in a row that Williams has single-handedly tried to take over a game. Against Akron on Saturday he scored the final 18 points in regulation for Ball State. Tuesday, Williams had ten points in the final minute and 15 seconds of play.

"That's who we are, so we have to have him do it," Buckley said. "He's done a great job for us, he really has."

After Tuesday's game, Williams said he now fully realizes how important it will be for him to be active in the first half rather than just playing with second half intensity.

"I think it comes down to me," he said. "When I decide to get going, guys get going. I can't afford to take breaks out here with this team. I have to lead from start to finish. I am going to get on those guys from the tip-off. The coaching staff has given a lot of trust in me and it's time to carry out the game plan."


More from The Daily

Loading Recent Classifieds...