The Ball State Cardinals came into the game struggling from the floor, and those struggles continued in the first half. The Ohio University Bobcats had no such problems. By the break at 10:47, OU had jumped out to a 26 to 11 lead. They eventually stretched the lead to 46-21 before Ball State rallied late to close the gap a bit.
The Bobcats went into the locker room with a 19 point lead, 49-30.
The halftime stats were as one-sided as the score. Overstating the obvious is a talent of mine.
Everyone was hitting for the Bobcats. Gavin Block had 12, Mike Laster added 11, and Jordan Dartis had 9. The only Bobcat to shoot under 50% was Jaaron Simmons, who repented for his 2 of 5 shooting with 5 assists.
Taylor Persons had 10 for the Cardinals.
The Bobcats hit 62% of their shots, and were 58% from beyond the arc. The Cardinals only hit 34% of their shots.
Ohio led in rebounding 18-13, but that was the result of the Cardinals missing more shots more than anything else.
Early in the second half, Ball State heated up a bit, while Ohio cooled. It wasn’t a drastic thing, and there were other factors. The net result was that Ball State was back in the the game on their home court with 11:21 to play. They were only down 12, 62-50.
Ball State and the crowd could sense it was becoming a game, and the Cardinals hit the offensive glass, hard. Even though they weren’t hitting, they were able to knock the lead down to 8.
After an OU free throw, threes the by the Cardinal’s Sean Sellers and Francis Kiapway knocked the lead down to 2, 63-61.
Jordan Dartis was able to stop the bleeding for the Bobcats, but their fans were certainly full on worried at this point.
Shortly thereafter, Franko House fouled out. I was going to make a pun here, but I did so on the last Ball State recap, and as a rule, I don’t make fun of a man’s name twice. Plus he is huge, and I don’t want my ass kicked if he doesn’t think it’s funny and I ever run into him.
Sellers and Kiapway hit threes, while Jason Carter dropped a deuce for Ohio, to to knock the Ohio lead down to 2, 69-67. And I promise, I wont make pun for the rest of the recap.
At the 4:21 mark, Ryan Weber knocked down a three for the Cardinals, giving them their first lead since a minute into the game, 73-72.
Taylor Persons was then T’ed up, and OU knocked down all three free throws, to regain the lead, 75-73. Shortly thereafter, Persons became the second Cardinal to foul out.
3:19 to go, and Ohio leads Ball State, 75-73. Their heart, and soul, Persons and House are fouled out. After the timeout, Simmons knocked down both free throws. This was a true character gut check for the Cardinals.
Both teams went at the rim, and the score was OU 79, Ball State 77 with less than 2 minutes to go.
Kyle Mallers rebounded a Simmons miss, and Ball State had a chance to tie or take the lead.
It didn’t happen. After some more back and forth, there was 1:03 on the clock, and Trey Moses was at the line, trailing by 2. He missed, but Ball State got the rebound, and then missed the three.
Mallers blocked a Simmons layup and Ball State called a timeout. The Cardinals were still down 79-77, had the ball, and 11 seconds to do something on their home court.
It didn’t work out.
I can’t fault the Cardinals for their effort, and I have to give props to the Bobcats on a close win. #maction meets #shootyhoops.
Ohio improves to 15-8 on the season, 7-5 in the MAC. They head to Eastern Michigan next.
Ball State drops to 15-10 and 6-6 on the season. They head to Dekalb to take on the Huskies next.