MEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State shows uncharacteristic offensive surge

Cardinals scored Billy Taylor era-high 88 points in Saturday's win vs. Valparaiso

A high octane offense isn't exactly what Ball State men's basketball coach Billy Taylor preaches to his team.

In Taylor's first two years at Ball State, the Cardinals' offensive identity was centered more around shot clock buzzer beaters than a get-up-and-go attack.

But this season, the team feels it has the right personnel to run-and-gun at appropriate times during the game. Ball State scored 88 points in Saturday's season-opening win against Valparaiso University — the most points of the three-year Billy Taylor era.

"Offensively, I was very impressed with our balance, our distribution of the basketball," Taylor said. "Especially in the first game of the year, when there tends to be a little bit more jitters, there's excitement, there's a little bit of nerves, but I felt our guys did a great job of sharing the basketball, making the extra pass."

In Taylor's first two seasons, the Cardinals only reached the 80-point mark twice in regulation — an 82-71 win vs. Central Michigan University on Jan. 13, 2008, and an 82-69 win at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Jan. 22, 2009. Ball State also hit the mark in an 84-82 loss in overtime last season at Western Michigan University.

Led by its frontcourt, six players reached double-digit point totals for Ball State on Saturday against Valparaiso. Starting forwards Terrence Watson and Malik Perry and center Jarrod Jones combined to score 47 points and collect 22 rebounds in the victory.

"I think there is a very nice balance to what those three guys in particular bring to the table for us," Taylor said. "I think, offensively, they compliment each other very well."

The backcourt also had three players score double digits in guards Jauwan Scaife, Brawley Chisholm and Randy Davis.

Chisholm, a senior, said the team's goals this season included a running a faster-paced offense.

"That was our goal from the beginning of the season to speed the game up a little bit more," Chisholm, who hit two 3's and scored 12 points against Valpo, said. "I think that if we just stick to Coach Taylor's plans, then that can definitely maintain."

A self-described "shooter," Scaife, who scored 14 points in his Ball State debut, said the offense is still a work in progress.

"If I have an opportunity where I can create a shot for my shot or I have an open look at a shot, I'm not going to let down my team by not shooting that shot," freshman Scaife said. "I have confidence in myself, my team has confidence in me, and we got a lot of guys that scrap down low just in case I do miss."

The Cardinals get their second shot to tweak the offense with a 2 p.m. tipoff on Saturday against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville at Worthen Arena.


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