4 takeaways from Ball State's 80-59 road loss to Miami

<p>Freshman guard Mason Jones talks to coach Micheal Lewis during a free throw against Miami Feb. 17 at Millet Hall. Jones had two total points in the game. Andrew Berger, DN </p>

Freshman guard Mason Jones talks to coach Micheal Lewis during a free throw against Miami Feb. 17 at Millet Hall. Jones had two total points in the game. Andrew Berger, DN

On Saturday afternoon, Ball State looked to take a road victory as the Cardinals faced Miami (Ohio) for a Mid-American Conference (MAC) matchup in Millet Hall. However, the road trip did not go their way as the red and black fell to the Redhawks 80-59. 

Here are four takeaways from the game. 

First-half shooting struggles 

After the opening tip, both teams began to try and find an offensive presence. However, both the Cardinals (12-13, 4-8 MAC) and the Redhawks struggled to find the bottom of the basket. At the eight-minute mark, Ball State was 2-for-7 from the field and 0-for-3 from deep. 

Miami’s (12-13, 6-6 MAC) stats were not much better as they were 2-for-7 and 1-for-3 from 3-point land. During the rest of the half, the shooting issues continued. However, it wasn’t just the fact that the ball did not want to go in. It was the shot selection as multiple attempts left both head coaches frustrated. 

Down the stretch, Ball State and Miami continued to see shot attempts bounce off the rim. The Cardinals finished the opening half 11-for-26 (42.3 percent) from the field and went 3-for-10 (30 percent) from the 3-point line. 

The Redhawks – who led 30-29 at the break – went 11-for-27 (40.7 percent) and 4-for-10 (40 percent) from deep.

Ball State made easy mistakes to start the second half

The Redhawks opened the second half with three straight baskets – a layup and back-to-back 3-pointers – which gave them a 45-39 lead. On all three shots, Ball State’s defense collapsed. A few minutes later, freshmen Mason Jones and Trent Middleton Jr. knocked the ball out of bounds when they collided on a wide-open rebound attempt. 

After Ball State head coach Michael Lewis called a timeout, the Redhawks scored on a wide-open layup. 

This left the Cardinals’ second-year head coach pacing on the sidelines. Miami’s rhythm on offense continued as a vicious slam dunk gave the white and red a 53-43 lead at the 12:35 mark. 

Lewis received his first technical foul of the season

At the 6:25 mark in the second half, junior Basheer Jihad was called for an offensive foul while being guarded by a Redhawk defender away from the ball. However, Lewis wanted a foul on Miami. After seeing the officials’ call, Lewis walked onto the court, letting the referee know he disagreed. 

Lewis was then given a technical foul and needed to be held back by Middleton and Ball State’s assistant coaches. 

This was not the first time Ball State’s head coach was frustrated during the contest. Turnovers, missed shots, and other poor decisions left Lewis scratching his head throughout the game. 

Miami controlled the contest

At the end of the day, the loss came down to a few factors. For one, the Redhawks had 21 assists to Ball State’s 10. They also had 29 bench points to Ball State’s two. Yet the stats were not the only thing that hurt the Cardinals. Their attitude and play style changed in the second half. They gave up 30 points in the first half but allowed 50 in the second. 

Jihad and junior Davian Bailey led the Cardinals with 18 points apiece. Junior Jalin Anderson followed with 11. 

Ball State will attempt to find the win column when the red and black face Northern Illinois (9-16, 3-9 MAC)  on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The game is set for 8 p.m. 

Contact Zach Carter with comments at zachary.carter@bsu.edu or on X @ZachCarter85.


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