Freshman guard Ishmael El-Amen falls to the ground during the game against Akron Jan. 27 in John E. Worthen Arena. The Cardinals won 111-106 with double overtime. Eric Pritchett, DN
Ice cold second half leads to Ball State's double-digit loss to Eastern Michigan
Ball State couldn't get anything going in the second half against Eastern Michigan.
The Cardinals suffered a season-low scoring total in its 58-41 loss after scoring just 15 points in the last 20 minutes of the game, including a stretch of seven scoreless minutes where the Eagles went on a 15-0 run.
"It was one of those games where it just felt like when it rained it poured," head coach James Whitford said in a postgame interview. "Even when we made interior passes, there were a couple where we got the ball with bounce passes inside and we didn't catch."
Eastern Michigan's 17-point victory marks its first win over Ball State in three seasons. While Ball State (14-8, 5-5 MAC) had more shot attempts than Eastern Michigan (13-10, 4-6 MAC) it was the Eagles' defense that was the difference in the game. Even when the Cardinals got the ball near the rim, the Eagles swatted it away, getting a total of13 team blocks by the end of the night.
In previous games this season, Ball State has had up to 10 players score in a single game. Today, only five players found a basket. Junior center Trey Moses led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds. He was followed by sophomore Kyle Mallers (10) and junior Tayler Persons (8).
"I thought [Eastern Michigan] did a very good job of pressuring the high post and when they did get the ball in there, we were not able to make plays this time like we were able to last time," Whitford said. "We weren't near as effective making plays when we got the ball inside as we were in the past."
As a team, the Cardinals shot just 26.7 percent from the field (16-60), 19 percent from 3-point range (4-21) and 55.6 percent from the free throw line. Comparatively, Eastern Michigan shot 52.3 percent (23-44) from the field, 35.7 percent (5-14) from behind the arc and 46.7 percent (7-15) from the free throw line.
In the first six minutes of the second half, Ball State committed six team fouls compared to the five it saw in the first half. The Cardinals finished with 16 team fouls with sophomore Tahjai Teague, who went scoreless tonight, leading the way with four personal fouls.
After opening conference play with a road-heavy stretch, Ball State returns home for five out of its next six games.
"It's a big stretch for us," Whitford said. "This is six out of eight on the road for us and it felt a little bit like it did in November with a lot of traveling and I think we're eager to get back to Muncie and have a home stretch for a while."
Ball State plays host to Bowling Green (13-9, 4-5 MAC) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in Worthen Arena.