Ball State Men's Basketball players huddle around head coach James Whitford during a timeout in the first half against IUPUI Dec. 1, 2018, at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. Five players in double-figures led the Cardinals to an 85-75 win. Zach Piatt, DN
Unselfish play earns Ball State Men’s Basketball win over IUPUI
Ball State (5-3, 0-0 MAC) came into Indianapolis with three players averaging double-figures in the scoring column. By the end of their contest with the Jaguars (5-3, 0-0 Horizon), five Cardinals had 10 or more points.
“Today we shared [the ball] really well with each other,” head coach James Whitford said. “We’ve been an unselfish team. By nature, we have a lot of guys that can score. That’ll usually be like that for us.”
Saturday was the second consecutive game in which five Cardinals recorded double-digit points. It was also the sixth time this season at least three reached that mark. As Ball State’s leading scorer, redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons said it’s easy to let others make plays with so many options to choose from.
“We got a lot of dogs out there. We got a lot of dudes that can play,” Persons said. “Each of us trust each other to do what we got to do to win a game. Our depth by being able to score by anybody is really nice, and it’s fun to play on a team like that.”
Persons is one of seven Cardinals to score double-digit points in a game this season. Redshirt junior forward Tahjai Teague, who led the team with 19 points Saturday, is another. Teague said he agrees with Persons’ statement and added that the team’s game plan on offense is to find the hot hand from game to game.
“Our team – anybody can go out and get 20 out of our starting five,” Teague said. “You never know whose night it is. Whoever can score, we just try to get them the ball.”
Offensive depth was something the Jaguars did not feature, especially in the first half. Camron Justice scored 19 of IUPUI’s 40 first-half points on 8 of 10 shooting. He made his first eight shots including three 3-pointers, and the closest teammate to him had only scored five.
“He was just hot,” Teague said. “We just got to crack down on that and make somebody else beat us.”
The Cardinals held Justice to nine second-half points, which by itself still would have been third on the team.
Whitford said Justice’s struggles were a combination of him cooling down and tighter defense on his team’s part. Justice shot 30 percent from the field in the second half opposed to 80 percent in the first. He also missed all three attempts from behind the 3-point line.
“Some of them were just really great shots, so hats off to a really good player,” Wjitford said. “Some of them I thought were well-defended, and he made tough shots. We didn’t have to change that.”
Next up for the Cardinals is Loyola Chicago on the road Wednesday, Dec. 5.
Contact Zach Piatt with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.