Ball State (4-7, 0-0 MAC) jumped to an early lead and continued to build on it as it came out on top against Tennessee State (0-12, 0-0 OVC) in dominating fashion, 90-51.

The Cardinals took control in the first quarter as they pushed the tempo and made it hard on the Tennessee State defense with their fast-paced play. Nine of the Cardinals’ 29 points in the first quarter came off the fast break. 

The Cardinals sustained the fast play and were scoring points quickly throughout the contest, leading to a new season-high 91 points. 

“There’s nothing better than easy buckets, and when you work hard to earn them and get them it’s even better,” head coach Brady Sallee said. 

Ball State owned the paint, scoring 44 points down low. The Cardinals also won the rebounding battle 56-42. 

“I thought we rebounded as good as we have all year, and we really went after it,” Sallee said. “We got clean ones, and it led to transition buckets.”

The Cardinals were consistent from the field as a unit, knocking down 31 of their 61 attempts. They received scoring from nine different players, and four of them scored in the double digits.

Senior guard Jasmin Samz led Ball State in scoring with 17 points. She fell just short of a double-double, grabbing nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Oshlynn Brown and sophomore guard Maliah Howard-Bass added 15 points each. Brown also picked up a double-double, snatching 11 boards. 

The Cardinals’ defense made things difficult for the Tigers, holding them to just seven first-quarter points on 2 of 17 shooting.

Ball State continued to put pressure on the Tennessee State offense as they only allowed the Tigers to score 51 total points with a 21.3 shooting percentage. Friday saw the fewest amount of points the Cardinals have given up to an opponent this season. 

“We made them take shots that we wanted them to take,” Sallee said. “We played through the defense to the offense and got easy buckets that way.”

The Cardinals forced the Tigers to commit 19 turnovers, and Ball State took advantage, scoring 29 points off of those miscues.

Ball State will be back in action after a nine-day break at 2 p.m. Dec. 30 against Urbana at Worthen Arena.

Contact Daric Clemens with any comments at diclemens@bsu.edu or on Twitter @DClemens.