Junior center Trey Moses celebrates after scoring during the game against Akron Jan. 27 in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals won in double overtime 111-106. Eric Pritchett, DN
Ball State snaps Toledo's seven-game win streak in 75-63 win
Ball State made the best shooting team in the Mid-American Conference look like anything but that on Tuesday night.
Toledo, who came into the game shooting 48 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from the 3-point line, shot just 34.4 percent from the field and 25.9 percent from behind the 3-point line in its 75-63 loss against Ball State.
While Ball State shot 39.5 percent from the field and 28 percent from behind the arc, the difference in the game was its rebounding effort. The Cardinals 58 boards (19 on offense) compared to the Rockets 41 rebounds (7 on offense) proved to be enough to snap the Toledo's seven-game win streak.
"I thought it was a real team win. I thought our effort level was incredible," head coach James Whitford said in a postgame interview. "We had 21 second chance points to their nine and we win by 12. I thought it was just a toughness and effort win for us."
Ball State's dominating rebound performance gave the Cardinals 17 more shot attempts, 48 points in the paint and 21 second chance points on the night. As a unit, three different Ball State players finished in double digits in terms of scoring.
Sophomore Tahjai Teague led the way for the Cardinals once again with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Trey Moses had 15 points and 14 rebounds and junior Tayler Persons was knocking on the door of a triple-double with 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Not only did Ball State find numerous ways to score but sophomore Kyle Mallers found a way to shut down one of the MAC's leading scorers in Tre'Shaun Fletcher, who finished with 16 points off of 6-21 shooting and a 1-9 effort from behind the arc.
"[Mallers] did an unbelievable job defending him on pick-and-rolls," Whitford said. "Two weeks ago, Kyle was defending the big's on pick-and-rolls and now he's defending the guards. That's as different as pitching and catching. ... He did an unbelievable job."
The win marked just the second conference road victory for Ball State and seemed like the first time the Cardinals got into a rhythm with its new offensive scheme. In the game, Toledo never once held a lead and Ball State led by as many as 17 points,
While Toledo kept making a dent in a Ball State lead that levitated around 10-or-so points, the Cardinals kept one of the conference's toughest offenses at arm's length all night.
"We're bigger now, that's one of the things that we've adjusted with our lineups," Whitford said. "We've had to go through a little transition and when you're relearning something in the middle of January and moving guys around to different positions, it's not easy. We're progressively going to get better with every passing week and that's what we have to do."
Ball State returns to action on Feb. 3 to play Eastern Michigan (12-9, 4-4 MAC) on the road.