Four Takeaways from Ball State’s 86-72 victory over IU South Bend

Freshman guard Jaylin Sellers goes for a basket in a game against Akron March 1 at Worthen Arena. Sellers scored six points during the game. Amber Pietz, DN
Freshman guard Jaylin Sellers goes for a basket in a game against Akron March 1 at Worthen Arena. Sellers scored six points during the game. Amber Pietz, DN

Ball State (3-1) protected Worthen Arena and defeated Indiana University South Bend (3-4) with a score of 86-72 Nov. 19. The Cardinals started off the game by taking an early lead and held it throughout. Here are four  takeaways from the Cardinal’s win. 

Missed Shots During The First Half

Ball State ended the first half 13 of 26 (50 percent) from the field and were 4 of 11 (36 percent) on three-point shots.  

Multiple misses allowed the Titans to stay in the game but, on the flip side, they went 14 of 32 (44 percent) and mirrored the Cardinals three-point stat line.

Coming out of after halftime, the Cardinals found their stride. They went 17 of 25 (68 percent)  in the second half, and went 6 of 10 (60 percent) on three pointers.

Redshirt sophomore Mickey Pearson Jr played an important bench role for the Cardinals. He helped with the team’s struggling shooting as he led the team on the stat line, going 100 percent with 12 points.

The Payton Sparks and Jaylin Sellers Show

With the Cardinals shooting issues during the first half, sophomore center Payton Sparks led the team with 12 points with most of his points coming from the free throw line.

The 6-foot-9 inch Sparks was not afraid to drive in and take the contact. He forced multiple fouls, including a foul on a dunk that had the Ball State crowd on their feet. 

Besides drawing fouls, he was able to back down Titan defenders and lay the ball in the hoop. 

He finished the game with 17 points, and went 7 of 10 (70 percent) on free throws. But offense wasn’t his only highlight, on defense he was able to shut down any Titan that drove to the basket. 

But it was not just Sparks who helped the team when they needed it. Sophomore guard Jaylin Sellers proved a real problem for the Titans. From cutting moves for layups, to his three-point shooting, he was there for his team.

He led the Cardinals with 14 rebounds and had 18 points, his new career high.

Michael Lewis’s Presence on the Court

Head coach Michael Lewis was not afraid to show his emotion to the referees or his athletes. After a Cardinal celebrated a successful three point attempt, Lewis erged his team to “just play."

A few minutes later, he let the referees hear it when a foul was called on sophomore forward Basheer Jihad. It ended with him walking the other way, still shaking his head.

His attitude did not change during the second half, constantly calling plays and pointing out things to his team, Lewis was active and did not let up.

After a shot clock violation where the Cardinals could not get a shot, Lewis showed his frustration. 

By the end, the first-year head coach had relaxed as his team walked off the court with an 14-point victory. 

Inconsistent Defense

Lewis’s squad struggled to contain the Titans during the first half but they were able to hold a decent lead at the break.

But after coming out of the half, the Titans came out and scored 18-points to Ball State’s 17. They were helped by the Titans ability to knock down three-pointers.

After a media-timeout, Ball State only led by six. But after that, they started to find ways to hold the visiting team and forced four turnovers and recorded three blocks.

Contact Zach Carter with comments at or on Twitter @ZachCarter85.


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