3 takeaways from Ball State's 80-70 loss to Bowling Green

Junior guard Jalin Anderson dribbles the ball against Bowling Green Jan. 30 at Worthen Arena. Anderson scored seven points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN
Junior guard Jalin Anderson dribbles the ball against Bowling Green Jan. 30 at Worthen Arena. Anderson scored seven points in the game. Mya Cataline, DN

Heading into Friday evening’s contest at Bowling Green, the Cardinals needed a win and some help from other Mid-American Conference (MAC) teams to secure a spot in the conference tournament. 

However, Ball State fell 80-70 to the Falcons in its regular season contest, ending the black and red’s 2023-24 campaign. Here are three takeaways from the game.

Ball State did not score in the first three minutes

The MAC matchup at the Stroh Center did not start the way the Cardinals (15-11, 7-11 MAC) probably hoped for. They did not find the bottom of the net until the 16:40 mark in the first half. During the drought, Bowling Green (19-12, 10-8 MAC) jumped to a 4-0 lead. 

However, after junior Jaylin Anderson’s layup found the net, the Cardinals found some momentum and tied the game 7-7. Yet no one slowed down as the game became a back-and-forth match. 

While Ball State found some success, they continued to struggle from the field. By the 7:40 mark, they shot 2-for-8 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Yet it wasn’t solely the black and red’s ability to shoot. The Falcons were more aggressive and outrebounded the Cardinals 21 to 12 in the first half. 

The Cardinals had limited chances at the free-throw line

While Ball State has used the foul line to help them throughout the season, the chance for extra points did not play a part in the loss. While junior Basheer Jihad drove inside the paint and attempted to draw whistles, they did not follow. 

In the first half, Bowling Green was called for six fouls. With that, the black and red only had two free-throw attempts in the period. On a positive note, the Cardinals were called for two fouls, which only gave Bowling Green two attempts at the foul line. 

During the rest of the game, trips to the free-throw line became more frequent as the officials blew their whistles much more.Yet the extra shots did not help the Cardinals in the end. Ball State finished the contest going 17-for-23 (73.9 percent) in foul shots. The Falcons went 15-for-18 (83.3 percent). 

The Cardinals were not able to sustain momentum 

Trailing 35-26 at halftime, the Cardinals needed to find a rhythm in the final half. However, the black and red did so, but Bowling Green matched it. When Ball State scored, the Falcons answered with a bucket of their own. 

As the half continued, Ball State’s momentum started to evaporate. Even though they pulled within one point at the 4:29 minute mark, the Cardinals walked off the court for the last time this season after the final buzzer rang through the arena. 

Anderson led the black and red with 22 points and had four assists. Junior Basheer Jihad followed with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

Even though the loss ended the black and red’s season, Western Michigan (12-19, 9-9 MAC) defeated Akron (19-12, 13-5 MAC), which would have brought the Cardinals’ campaign to a close as well. 

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


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