Many believe that there's no such thing as a "moral victory." Still, after game one of the 2014-15 basketball season for Ball State, there's reason to be encouraged about the future of Ball State basketball.
Ultimately, the Cardinals fell to the #25 ranked Utah Utes, 90-72, in Salt Lake City. Ball State was within six with just over five minutes to play before Utah closed the game on a 21-9 run to pull away. The Cardinals trailed by just five at the half.
Ball State kept this one close thanks to the outside shot. The Cardinals connected on 10 of 22 attempts from behind the arc. BSU was unable to keep pace with an explosive Utah offense however. The Utes shot just under 60% from the field.
This one was a bruiser. The Cardinals committed 30 personal fouls, and Utah went to the line 40 times, hitting 26 freebies. Ball State was better from the charity stripe, shooting 12 of 13. Three Cardinals, Matt Kamieniecki, Franko House, and Rocco Belcaster fouled out Friday night.
It was a spectacular debut for Ball State freshman Sean Sellers. The Greensburg, Indiana product shot 8 of 13 from the field, and 4 of 6 from behind the arc for a game high 26 points. Sellers played 35 minutes, the most of any Cardinal.
Last season's MAC Freshman of the Year Zavier Turner shot well from the field as well. Turner hit 5 of 10 field goals and shot 2 of 4 from three for 14 points. A concern from last season was the number of turnovers Turner committed, and he logged five on Friday, without tallying an assist.
Utah was led by Brandon Taylor, who scored 19 points for the Utes. Jakob Poeltl and Jordan Loveridge each chipped in 18. Poeltl grabbed a game high 10 rebounds.
Utah dominated the glass all game long. The Utes had a 35-22 advantage over the Cardinals on the boards and outscored Ball State in the paint 42-14. Utah also snatched 11 steals which they turned in to 24 points.
Next season Utah travels to Muncie for a matchup with the Cardinals at Worthen Arena. The Utes are back in action at San Diego State on Tuesday, November 18th. Ball State returns to the hardwood at home on Monday, November 17th against Indiana University - Kokomo.