Close doesn't count.
Despite fighting for a full 40 minutes, Ball State left Valpo without the turnaround-signaling victory that they came so close to grabbing. The Cards lead for over 95 percent of the first half and held a 39-33 halftime lead, but were unable to hold off Alec Peters and the hot-shooting Crusaders in the second half, as Valpo marched to a 65-62 victory.
Sean Sellers and Zavier Turner lead the Cardinals in scoring with 14 and 13, and were able to steer Ball State back into the game late, despite trailing by nine with a little over a minute left. Down 63-57 with 1:03 left, Sean Sellers hit a three and cut the Valpo lead back down to six, and despite being down 65-59 with 22 seconds left, Turner forced his way into the lane and drew a three-point play to bring the VU lead back down to three. But the Cards were unable to foul until there was just eight seconds left. But Turner fouled a player without the ball, setting up Valpo for four free throws to clinch the game.
All four were shot, and missed, by Jubril Adekoya, setting up one last chance for BSU, but Turner missed a long three, ending any hope at a Cardinal victory.
Early on, things couldn't have been any better for Ball State. The Cards raced out to a quick 14-2 lead, but Valpo slowly squandered that away, taking a 31-30 lead late in the first half, before a 9-2 BSU run to finish off the half gave them a 39-33 halftime edge.
Alec Peters and the Crusaders responded with 2nd half run, taking a 52-45 lead and beginning to look like the team the record suggested. Peters lead all scorers with 23.
Valpo travels to IPFW next, while Ball State will take on James Madison in Muncie.