CLEVELAND - Freshman forward Jarrod Jones scored eight points in Ball State University's 64-52 loss to the University at Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Semifinals. It wasn't enough to propel the Cardinals into the finals, but Jones climbed to fourth place on Ball State's all-time freshman scoring list. With 28 points in two games in Cleveland, Jones finishes his first season with 346 points, moving ahead of Randy Boarden.
The three Cardinals to score more points than Jones as freshmen are Bonzi Wells, Ray McCallum and Theron Smith. All three, plus Boarden went on to score 1,000 points for Ball State.
Jones had five rebounds and three blocks to go with his eight points. Buffalo made it a point to deny him in the paint after he scored 20 points in the quarterfinals against Central Michigan University, Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon said.
"We wanted him to think about how he was being defended instead of how he was going to score," Witherspoon said.
Jones acknowledged it was difficult for him to find open shots.
"It was frustrating," Jones said. "I knew my team needed me."
Just like football
A sizeable cheering section for Buffalo made the three-hour trip to Cleveland for its MAC Tournament semifinal matchup with Ball State.
As the game went increasingly in the Bulls favor, the True Blue was unable to resist bringing up their win in December's MAC championship football game. The chant "just like football" was among the references in Buffalo's 64-52 win.
The King's court
Playing Quicken Loans Arena, LeBron James' home court, has inspired some MAC players to emulate the Cleveland Cavaliers' star. Before Friday's semifinal matchup between Bowling Green State University and the University of Akron, Freddy Falcon, Bowling Green's mascot, threw chalk into the air as James does before each game.
The chalk throw has recently been highlighted in a Nike ad and is pictured on the side of a building across from the Q.
In Kent State University's quarterfinal loss to Buffalo, guard Tyree Evans came up a bit short when he attempted to imitate one of James' dunks. Against the Toronto Raptors James paid homage to a Karl Malone dunk when he reclined during his dunk. Evans was forced to lay the ball in when he realized he didn't have enough height to both recline and dunk the ball.
Court, part two
The women's championship game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., five hours before the Cavs are supposed to play the New York Knicks at the Q. It will be a short turnaround for the arena staff that often has to switch between basketball, hockey and other entertainment set ups.
The quick turnaround won't allow much time for the championship team to celebrate their victory before they have to clear out of the building.
Buffalo junior forward Max Boudreau was fouled hard late in the semifinal matchup with Ball State by freshman guard Randy Davis. Boudreau took a few minutes to recover before making both his free throws. The Quebec native said his hockey background made dealing with blows like that easier.
"I played 13 years of hockey," Boudreau said. "I just told the ref I'm fine."