Well, it wasn't for lack of effort.
The Cardinals held a 42-31 lead with 13:49 left. They weren't playing their best, but neither was Butler. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Butler starting playing a lot better and went on a 20-4 run over the next eight minutes. Ball State made it interesting late after a Mark Alstork three cut it to one with a minute and a half left, but could never overtake the lead.
James Whitford got solid performances from all the regulars. Majok Majok had yet another double double with 15 points and 11 boards. Chris Bond had 14 and 7 rebounds. Zavier Turner had a quiet game by his standards, putting in just eight (all in the first half) and only had three assists. The Cardinals did have some trouble on the glass, allowing Butler to grab 20 offensive rebounds, which was higher than their defensive rebound total of 17.
Turnovers were the story of the game, and you'd think that if Ball State cleaned those up a little more they would have won. The Cardinals committed 17 of them and a couple costly ones late in the game. Bond had five alone and Turner had a key one late in the game. All in all the Cardinals were right there against a Big East team, which you shouldn't fault them for. Worthen Arena was packed and it looks like the energy is back in Ball State basketball. Sometimes losing to a good team isn't always a bad thing and the Cardinals showed that this afternoon.