On Tuesday evening, Ball State returned to Worthen Arena in an attempt to improve its two-game-win streak. However, the streak ended as the Cardinals fell to Bowling Green 81-72.
Here are four takeaways from the game.
Limited 3-point action in the first half
During the first 10 minutes of the game, Ball State (11-10, 3-6 Mid-American Conference(MAC)) decided to wreck the paint instead of going from range. Using that game plan in the past, the Cardinals are no stranger to the free throw line by doing this. However, they only visited the foul line three times during the first half.
Going inside, the Cardinals went 10-for-22 (45.4 percent), but were outscored in the category as the Falcons (15-6, 6-3 MAC) led with 24 in points in the paint.
Later in the half, the Cardinals started to take more shots from the arc. Heading into halftime, the white and red went 3-for-5 (60 percent) from deep. The Falcons went 4-for-9 (44.4 percent) from deep and led 33-31 at the break.
Ball State struggled on defense
During the second half, it seemed that the Falcons could do no wrong on offense. They were able to drive inside when they wanted and ended those possessions with points. Bowling Green was led by junior Marcus Hill with 28 points.
Another part of Bowling Green’s success was their ability to grab rebounds while on offense. They recorded 11 offensive rebounds while Ball State had seven. In total, the Falcons had 31 rebounds to Ball State’s 25.
However, Ball State’s lack of defense continued to be an issue. After back-to-back 3-pointers near the eight-minute mark of the second half, the Cardinals’ chances of coming back slipped into a dark hole.
The turnover issues continued
Throughout this season, Ball State has had issues with coughing up the basketball as they average 12.3 turnovers per game. In the loss, the mistakes returned.
It didn’t matter if it was a bad pass or dribbling the rock out of bounds. Any changes the white and red tried to make did not help them.
Junior Jalin Anderson had nine turnovers and junior Basheer Jihad followed with four. While the Cardinals improved on their ball handling down the stretch, the damage was already done as the Falcons finished the game with 20 points off turnovers.
Mistakes in the final two minutes
Within the final two minutes of the second half, the Cardinals trailed 71-64 with junior Davion Bailey at the free-throw line. However, Bailey missed both attempts and on the next possession, Bowling Green senior Jason Spurgin drained a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
Following that, the Cardinals turned the ball over once again and had to foul the rest of the way.
Ball State will attempt to find the win column when they travel to Western Michigan (8-13, 5-4 MAC) on Saturday, Feb. 5. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m.
Contact Zach Carter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X@ZachCarter85.