Senior forward Moriah Monaco, left, and Northern Illinois’ Kelly Smith, right, go after a loose ball during the Cardinals’ game against the Huskies Jan. 27 in John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State won 81-72. Eric Pritchett, DN
Lockdown defense helps Ball State dominate Western Michigan
Scoring on Ball State (22-4, 11-4 MAC) is not easy, and Western Michigan (14-13, 7-8 MAC) had to learn the hard way.
The Cardinals returned home Wednesday and dominated the Broncos 85-58 to get their fourth straight win.
“The kids were locked in and knew personnel really well,” head coach Brady Sallee said.
The offense was on point for the Cardinals. However, the lockdown defense from Ball State made it difficult for Western Michigan to ever come back and make the game close.
“Our half-court zone was giving them some fits with the length and the pressure we were putting on them, I think we had them playing sideways a little bit,” Sallee said. “I think we did a really good job of keeping it out of the post.”
The Broncos averaged 70.2 points on the season coming into to this match-up but were held to only 27 points going into halftime before finishing with 58 points.
The Cardinals allow an average of 65.5 points per game this season.
Ball State made everything hectic for the Western Michigan offense, forcing it to commit 17 turnovers.
“Whenever we can turn teams over and get it out in the open court and get it in Carmen's hands and then just run we’re a bear and it showed,” Sallee said. “Playing defense to offense has kind of been the story of our year and we got it going early and often tonight.”
Open looks didn’t come often for the Broncos. They struggled to knock down shots, shooting 35.1 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from behind the 3-point line.
Ball State will be in action again on Saturday for its final home game, taking on Toledo at 2 p.m.