Breaking triple digits for the first time since its double overtime win against Akron last season, a strong team effort gave Ball State Men's Basketball (4-3, 0-0 MAC) a dominating win over Tiffin (2-4, 0-0 G-MAC), 108-62.
"I was really proud of our leaders. Our older guys," head coach James Whitford said. "Tayler really took charge of our huddles inside our locker room and I thought Tahjai, Kyle and Trey were very unselfish. We played the right way for 40 minutes."
10 different Cardinals saw playing time tonight with five breaking double figures. Off the bench, sophomore forward Zach Gunn put up 17 points knocking down 4-5 three pointers and sophomore guard Ishmael El-Amin hitting 4-5 from field goal range.
"It's good for those guys to get more experience," Whitford said. "One of the things I think is hard for a player is when you're playing in a role where you're only playing three or four minutes at a time. It's not a easy role to get adjusted to and basketball is a rhythm game. Playing out there for a longer time and playing through mistakes can give you confidence as a player."
Alongside a strong roster performance, redshirt senior center Trey Moses set a career high in rebounds with 17 on the night. Moses surpassed his 16 rebound performance his sophomore year in a 79-77 win over Coppin State.
"It feels good to achieve something like this early in the season," Moses said. "I haven't felt like my offense is where i've wanted it to be, so i'm trying to get back into the flow of the game in other ways. I've been trying to do that defensively in blocking and not letting my man score."
The Cardinals were hot out of the gate as they would rack up 49 points in the first half alone. Ball State would lay in 30 points inside the paint and eight points off of turnovers. The Cardinals held their own at the line as well hitting 69 percent of their shots.
The second half saw the Cardinals bench perform as they would knock in 38 of the 59 points scored in the half. Gunn shot for 80 percent from outside the arc while El-Amin downed for 80 percent inside the paint. Redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons had another strong offensive performance with a team leading 20 points and six assists. This is persons fifth 15 plus point game of the season.
"I'm just being myself out there and not getting away from it," Persons said. "My teammates have a lot of confidence in me, as well as my coaches, and I just do my job every game. Whether that's score or give my guys open shots, I do what I do out there."
Going forward, the team will face IUPUI in Indianapolis on Saturday. The Jaguars are coming off a 3-1 finish in the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament where they took down the likes of Saint Francis Brooklyn, Grambling State and Boston College. In the last 10 season, the Cardinals have held the advantage over the Jaguars, 3-2.
"We just got to keep getting better each day and get better in practice" Persons said. "We have a tough game on Saturday against a really good team. Whoever our opponent is we just have to go out there and give it our all and show the best that Ball State basketball has to offer."