3 takeaways from Ball State's win over Butler

Ball State redshirt Junior Anna Clephane shoots a free-throw  on Nov. 3 at Worthen Arena. Clephane finished the night with 20 points.
Ball State redshirt Junior Anna Clephane shoots a free-throw on Nov. 3 at Worthen Arena. Clephane finished the night with 20 points.

Fans of college basketball see this happen every year: a smaller school from a mid-major conference goes on the road to face a Power Six Conference team (the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East, Big Ten, Pacific-12 and Southeastern Conference) for what seems to be a tune-up game for the bigger school. But, every year, there are one or two mid-majors who end up upsetting the big schools. Tuesday night was one of those instances.

Ball State (2-0), a member of the Mid-American Conference defeated Butler (0-3), a member of the Big East Conference, 70-56 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. At this point in this young college basketball season, this game looks to be one of the first upsets. How were the Cardinals able to pull off a win against a school in one of the top conferences in the nation?

Defense wins championships

Defense was a big reason for Ball State’s success. The Cardinals held the Bulldogs to just seven points in the first quarter and 10 in the second, giving them a 27-17 halftime lead. After a 27 point third quarter by Ball State to lead 54-36, Butler outscored the Cardinals 20-16 in the fourth, including a 10-0 run to end the game, but it wasn’t enough. 

Ball State held freshman guard Trinity White to five points on 2-for-11 shooting and 1-for-7 from three. They also forced senior guard Emilia Sexton to 6 points on 2-for-11 shooting and 2-for-10 from three. Overall, the Bulldogs shot 21-for-54, only 38.9 percent, and 9-for-30 from deep, just 30 percent.

Clephane’s scoring showcase

Another big piece of Ball State’s upset was the game from redshirt junior Anna Clephane. Clephane led all scorers with 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field, and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line, while adding in four rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes of game time. 

Overcoming poor shooting

Other than Clephane, graduate student Chyna Latimer was the only other Cardinal in double figures, scoring 12 on 5-for-16 shooting, and 0-6 from deep. Ball State only made 26 of its 66 shots, good for 39.4%, just barely ahead of Butler's 38.9%. The Cardinals were also 8-for-36 from behind the arc, just 22.2%. Junior Sydney Freeman was held scoreless, missing all seven of her shots, but she added in four rebounds, six assists and two steals. Senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir had only 7 points on 2-for-7 shooting but managed to pull down 7 boards. 

Ball State will have another chance to prove itself against a Power Six Conference team, as the Cardinals head to Katy, Texas to face off against Texas Tech of the Big 12 Conference in the Van Chancellor Classic Friday, Nov 26. Tip-off starts at 5 p.m. eastern.

Contact Nate Grubb with comments at nathaniel.grubb@bsu.edu or on Twitter @GrubbNate43

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