MEN'S BASKETBALL: Cardinals start 2011 with win

Ball State gets first win of new year over SIU-Edwardsville

Chris Bond made one dribble from outside the free throw line and took off. Instead of finishing the play at the basket, Bond wrapped a pass around his defender and found Jarrod Jones for a reverse layup.

Ball State's length and athleticism were on full display in an otherwise ugly game against SIU-Edwardsville Monday, winning 76-46.

The Cardinals' advantage in physical talent made up for their lack of offensive execution. Their points came mostly in transition, which jumpstarted the offense.

"We played with a lot of activity in the first half, especially defensively," coach Billy Taylor said. "13 steals is a pretty high number for us. I thought our guards made really good decisions in the open court—we attacked the rim to score."

Jones played around the rim all night. His sixth double-double of the season (19 points, 11 rebounds) kept Ball State ahead all game amidst its struggles.

Poor shooting plagued guards Randy Davis and Jauwan Scaife for the third straight game. During that stretch, the two have combined to go 6-37 from the field.

Perhaps they should ask freshman Jesse Berry for his remedy.

After going on a slump of his own earlier in the year, Berry picked up the scoring slack in the backcourt on Monday.

"When I was in my slump, Randy and those guys just said, ‘hey, just keep shooting,'" Berry said. "They had confidence and stayed with me, so I'm just going to keep doing what I do."

What Berry does is make plays.

Known primarily as a perimeter scorer, Berry utilized moves off the dribble and pull up jumpshots to get easy shots.

On the first possession of the game, he drove the lane, jump stopped and drew contact for a foul. His aggressiveness didn't let up all game. He finished 6-8 from the line and scored 18 points.

Ball State never trailed in the game, but couldn't pull away until the end. Sloppy play and ill-advised shots let SIU-Edwardsville back into the game on a couple of occasions.

Taylor said the Cougars were a pesky team, but his team's consistency won the game.

"It was a possession type game again," Taylor said. "We were consistent with what we do. We didn't get rattled by someone jumping up and making a shot or giving up an offensive rebound. We just kept playing through and that's what good teams do."

The win against SIU-Edwardsville was Ball State's final non-conference game before Mid-American Conference play starts.



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