Redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons and redshirt freshman center Blake Huggins take a quick breather during a practice at Dr Don Schondell Practice Center on Nov 29, 2018. Jack Williams,DN
Lopsided second half hands Ball State Men's Basketball loss to Evansville
The Cardinals went into the locker room after the first half with a 45-37 lead over the Purple Aces and holding that lead for 18:20 minutes.
By the end of the game, Ball State Men's Basketball (6-4, 0-0 MAC) was heading back to Muncie with a 89-77 loss to Evansville (5-4, 0-0 MVC) after the Purple Aces came out going on a 44-11 run to start the second half.
"As they started to unravel, our response was to try to hit too many home runs," head coach James Whitford said. "We had 20 possession on offense where we'd look at each other and say 'that was a terrible decision'. The game became too tough for us and we weren't able to handle it."
The second half saw the Cardinals flounder and the Purple Aces flourish. Ball State was a low 8 percent from three point range in the second half while Evansville knocked down 4-10 from deep for a 40 percent accuracy. Discipline became a problem as well with junior forward Kyle Mallers and redshirt junior forward Tahjai Teague both falling into foul trouble with four.
"Unless you're inside the arena, you don't understand the emotional pressure, game pressure and physical fatigue on the players," Whitford said. "We had five things along the corse of the game that were really frustrating in the game and you put them all together, it took us out of being our best."
It was a tale of two halves. The first half saw the Cardinals jump out to an early lead, 29-18. The Cardinals hit 17-29 from inside the paint and knock down 3-9 from three point range. At the horn, the Cardinals held a 8 point lead with two players in double figures. Redshirt senior center Trey Moses lead the charge with 13 points.
However, the Purple Aces would head into the locker room ending the half on a 11-2 scoring run. From the begging of the half to just over the 10 minute mark, Evansville would extend that run from the first half 44-11 run giving the Purple Aces a 68-54 lead. The half saw Evansville put five players in double figures with Shea Feehan finishing with a career record 29 points.
In the loss, the Cardinals snap their 5 game win streak and finish their series with Evansville at 1-1. The Cardinals will face another tough Missouri Valley opponent in Valparaiso next Dec 17. The Crusaders are coming off a close win over George Washington.
"We have a lot going on school wise for our guys," Whitford said. "I wish we would've played this game on Saturday, but it was tough playing Loyola so late. We'll have a few days off to worry about exams and we'll comeback for practice for the Valpo game."