Ugly, ugly and, yes, even more ugly.
Before going on a two-game road trip, Ball State faced Buffalo at Worthen Arena in a weeknight Mid-American Conference (MAC) matchup.
The first few minutes were a sign of what was ahead. Considering the loudest moment of the night was a fan hitting a halfcourt shot during a timeout, this was a game that fans wish never happened as the Bulls defeated the Cardinals 91-65.
Here are four takeaways from Ball State's first home loss of the season.
Five turnovers in first three minutes
Out-of-bounds, steals and bad passes led the Cardinals to give the ball away five times in the first three minutes of the contest. The hometown squad looked out of sync and could not get the ball in the paint.
With the turnovers came the Buffalo baskets. The Bulls jumped out to a nine-point lead that forced an early timeout by Ball State head coach Michael Lewis.
But even after the timeout, the Cardinals turned it over two more times in the next minute and allowed the Bulls to up their lead 3-20.
First-half shooting issues
The Cardinals' first half was probably different from what head coach Michael Lewis had in mind. One of their key issues was their shooting numbers. There were stretches where the team could not buy a bucket.
As a team, Ball State went 11-of-30 (36.7 percent) and went 3-of-10 (30 percent) from deep. It wasn’t just jump shots and threes that failed to fall. Layups would roll around the rim or just fly over without even grazing the hoop.
The Bulls on the other hand looked solid in the first half. As a team, the visitors went 19-of-36 (52.8 percent) from the field. Buffalo's main threat to Ball State was their 3-point ball. At halftime, they had gone 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from the arc.
Buffalo's sophomore guard Curtis Jones led the way as he made any Cardinal guarding him difficult. He finished the first half with 16 points and ended the game with 27.
When it came to stats, well, the Cardinals' performance was represented fairly by them. The Bulls had five more rebounds, five more assists and two more steals in the first half.
Ball State struggled to keep up with the visitors. When they looked to gain some ground, a mistake would occur and Buffalo would capitalize.
The final play of the first half was a good representation of the twenty minutes before it. Ball State’s senior Demarius Jacobs let the ball roll out to keep the clock from starting. But he accidentally kicked the ball which started the countdown.
This led to the team looking discouraged and their head coach shaking his head as they moped to the locker room.
The second half couldn't make up for the first half
If the Worthen Arena crowd was looking for a turnaround in the second half, they didn’t find it. Ball State did improve on its shooting and finished 24-of-60 (40 percent) and went 8-of-16 (50 percent) on 3-point shooting.
They also cut the turnover rate as they finished with 11 turnovers. But besides that, poor defense and easy mistakes kept the Cardinals from making a run.