On Saturday afternoon, Ball State welcomed Miami to Muncie for the Cardinals’ sixth Mid-American Conference (MAC) game of the season.
After an extra period of basketball, the fans of the red and white walked out of Worthen Arena after experiencing an overtime defeat as Ball State fell to Miami 87-80.
Here are four takeaways from the game.
Miami controlled most of the first half
The Redhawks (9-9, 3-3 MAC) opened the contest with heavy momentum on offense. This forced Ball State (9-9, 1-5 MAC) head coach Michael Lewis to take two timeouts within the first three minutes of the contest.
Yet the breaks seemed to not affect either team as the scoring continued. Miami continued to play well with multiple slam dunks. After one of them, junior Basheer Jihad and Miami sophomore Jaquel Morris were both given technical fouls after the two shoved each other.
Throughout the rest of the first half, Ball State found some success with the basketball. However, the success was inconsistent as it seemed they did too much.
Things like bad passes and negative shot attempts kept the Cardinals from getting over the hump. Ball State finished the first half with 10 turnovers while Miami lost the ball nine times. Though the Cardinals struggled, they kept it close and trailed 37-35 at halftime.
Ball State finished the half going 10-for-24 from the field and 4-for-9 (44.4 percent) from deep. The Redhawks went 14-for-26 and 2-for-8 (25 percent) from three-point range.
Ball State found second-half success in multiple categories
After the Cardinals came out of the tunnel, there was a change in the momentum. They took care of the basketball – they only had two turnovers in the half – and made better decisions.
With both teams having foul trouble, there were many chances at the foul line. Ball State averages 16.1 free throws per game and has a free throw percentage of .758. In the dance with the Red Hawks, the Cardinals went 18-for-23 (78.3 percent).
On the other hand, Miami also used those moments to their advantage. They went 15-for-20 (75 percent) from the foul line.
While some thought the Cardinals were about to seize the win, Ball State lost an 11-point lead in the final five minutes. Then Miami graduate student Darweshi Hunter sent the game to overtime as he stunned the Worthen Arena crowd with a successful three-pointer with a second remaining.
During the extra time, the Redhawks drained multiple baskets to take a 78-72 lead with three minutes remaining. Lewis called a timeout to try and end Miami’s 6-0 scoring run.
Following the stoppage in play, Miami continued to find success as the Redhawks drained another three-pointer. Another Ball State timeout was called, but the visitors went on to take the win.
Miami finished overtime going 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) from the field and 2-for-3 (66.7 percent) from deep, outscoring the Cardinals 15-8.
Basheer Jihad dominated in the second half
Six minutes into the first half, Jihad could not be contained. He scored the Cardinal’s first 15 points of the half. Most of the scoring was done inside the paint. In those moments, the 6-9 forward bodied his way to the hoop.
He finished the half with 19 points, finishing the game with 29, a career high. He also recorded four assists and four rebounds.
This was his seventh outing where the Detroit, Michigan native scored more than 20 points and his fourth game over 25. Near the end of the contest, the tension that occurred in the first half returned as Jihad got into another shoving match with his defender.
Ball State will attempt to find the win column when the Cardinals travel to face Buffalo (2-15, 1-4 MAC) on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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