Trapped in a corner, Pierre Sneed pivoted four times with the ball and looked toward the Ball State University bench for answers on the opposite side of the court.
The lost feeling on offense was a common one in the Cardinals' game last night against No. 23 Butler University.
Ball State scored just 11 points in a first half where it shot 4-of-21 (19 percent) from the field and dug too deep of a hole in its 59-38 loss to Butler.
The Cardinals' 38 points are their lowest output in a game since the 1952 season and the fewest scored against in-state rival Butler since 1942.
"I think [Butler was] just very disciplined in their defensive effort," Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. "They showed a lot of resiliency; whether they were late on a screen, they continued to fight and just really competed on every possession."
The Cardinals thrived on offense in its season opening 88-78 win over Valparaiso University's man-to-man defense on Nov. 13. Ball State converted 26-of-45 (57.8 percent) of its shots from the field against the Crusaders, including 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range.
But against Butler's man-to-man, Ball State felt the pressure from the time the ball passed halfcourt until it found its way going towards the other basket.
The Cardinals committed a season-high 18 turnovers and ended up making just 13-of-41 (31.7 percent) shots from the field Wednesday night, including 1-of 9 (11.1 percent) from 3-point land.
"We just wanted to come up and guard as well as we could," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "I think our guys really embraced the challenge of seeing what we could do each half and seeing how good we could be on the defensive end."
Ball State, losers of three straight games after opening the season with two wins, has a week off to figure out its offensive gameplan before it travels on the road to take on another in-state rival, Indiana State University, on Dec. 9.
"We just can't get down," junior forward Malik Perry said. "We have to stay together, we have to execute more on the offensive end and stick to our principles on the defensive end."