Ball State Men’s Basketball won its second game of the season, cooling off the UIC Flames in a 67-48 win. The Cardinals cruised their way to victory, dominating both halves as they found contribution all around. Here is what stood out.
Starters took the scoring load
As mentioned before, multiple players showed up and positively impacted the game. Ball State starters scored 52 of the team's 67 points, led by redshirt senior forward Tahjai Teague, who scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds along the way.
Junior guard Ishmael El-Amin had a career night with six assists. He not only was the primary facilitator, but he scored 14 points on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting. He also tallied two 3-pointers on the night.
This is the second straight game where three starters for the Cardinals have scored in double figures, so they are starting to find their rhythm early in the season.
Second-chance opportunities a must
Rebounding has been a strength so far in Ball State’s first three games, outrebounding opponents, 129-105.
One area where the Cardinals excelled in Wednesday night’s win was on the offensive boards. This ultimately translated to second-chance buckets. Teague and redshirt senior guard K.J. Walton led the way with nine rebounds each and a combined six offensive rebounds.
Ball State had a total of 16 boards on offense to the Flames' 10, which led to 16 second-chance points compared to UIC’s four.
Ball State needs to get off to better starts
While the Cardinals led at the half, 28-19, they started off slow, shooting just 36 percent from the floor and 7 percent from deep, making just one out of their 13 shots.
This was the same issue in their last two games against Evansville and Defiance. They were down at halftime against the Purple Aces, 40-18, and had to hope for a miracle in the second half. While they had a commanding lead in the first half against Defiance, they did not shoot the ball all too well, making only four of their 18 threes.
If they want to have any kind of success in the Mid American Conference, they will have to play a solid 40 minutes of basketball.
Cardinals took care of the ball
There is no easier way to lose a basketball game than to turn the ball over. Ball State did the exact opposite, which contributed to the win.
The Cardinals committed a season-low five turnovers while taking the ball away from UIC 13 times. Ball State was executing on its takeaways too, scoring 15 of points on turnovers with seven fast-break points.
Defiance only scored two points on Ball State giveaways and was not as effective in transition, scoring 11 points.