The game was never led by BSU, or even tied, but the Cards traded shots with the Dukes for about 34 minutes before a 18-2 James Madison run extended the lead to 22 and put the Cards away for good. Ball State saw several bright spots, especially early, but were unable to hang with the Dukes because of poor outside shooting, something that BSU had been doing well coming into the game. The 44 percent three-point shooting percentage coming in was surprisingly good enough for third in the nation.
The Cardinals shot just 26 percent from deep and under 30 percent overall; a large reason why the Cardinals struggled to keep up with the scoring pace that JMU had in the second half. Franko House and Zavier Turner would lead Ball State in scoring on the night, but finished with just nine each, meaning that no Cards player hit double figures for the first time this season.
Ball State also had a scare when their leading scorer Sean Sellers fell to the floor holding his right knee before being helped off the court at the 13:30 mark of the second half. Sellers would later return from the locker room to sit on the bench, but would not see the court again.
Matt Brady's squad put the game away on a run where a four-point JMU lead ballooned all the way to twenty in the course of just four minutes. Their lead would stay steady for the rest of the game, with BSU only able to cut the lead down to seventeen once. Brady got good performances from Ron Curry, Winston Grays, Paulius Satkus and Hari Hall, who all finished with ten or more points.
Early on, the Cards were able to rebound from being down 11-2 in the opening minutes to cut the JMU lead to 18-14 later in the first half. But, the Dukes looked the better team in the late stages of the opening half, taking a 30-23 lead into the break, which was fueled by Curry and Grays who had already scored eleven and nine points, respectively.
Ball State would win the first four minutes of the second half, cutting the JMU lead to 36-32 before the Dukes used their previously mentioned run to take a commanding lead and suffocate any chance at Ball State improving to 3-0 at home.
The Cards will be going out west next to take on the #19 San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday, while James Madison will be going back home to Virginia to take on High Point this upcoming Saturday as well.