For the second time in three days Ball State knocked off a Mid-Major Madness Power 15 team, running away from Central Michigan 83-65 in Muncie.
Ball State (7-6, 2-0) upset Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti on Wednesday in a game where the Cardinals had to overcome poor shooting, turnovers, and needed overtime before finally outlasting the Eagles. Saturday at Worthen Arena there would be no such drama.
The Cardinals trailed 52-51 with 13:24 remaining before closing the game on a 32-13 run to put away the Chippewas. Ball State shot better than 55% from the field and 50% from three-point range.
Five Cardinals scored in double figures on Saturday, lead by 21 from Zavier Turner. Turner hit 7 of 10 shots and all four tries from behind the arc. Often a concern for last season's MAC Freshman of the Year, his two turnovers were his second lowest total of this season, to go along with five assists.
The Ball State front court shined for the second straight game. Matt Kamieniecki scored 10 and ripped down 10 boards. Franko House added 13 points and 5 rebounds.
Perhaps most impressive for the Cardinals was the increased contribution of Jeremiah Davis. In his third game since having his NCAA eligibility restored following a transfer from Cincinnati, Davis had his best performance in a Ball State uniform. In 24 minutes he hit 6 of 11 shots for 14 points to go with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Central Michigan (11-2, 1-1) can't get back to Mount Pleasant fast enough. The Chippewas entered Muncie as the nation's second highest scoring team at 86 points a game. The 65 scored Saturday matches CMU's lowest scoring output of the season.
The CMU back court was far from spectacular but efficient against the Cardinals. Rayshawn Simmons scored 14 and Chris Fowler chipped in 13. They were the only two Chippewas to score in double figures. Braylon Rayson struggled for the second straight game, scoring 7 points on 2 of 9 shooting. Rayson has reached double digits just once in the last five games.
Central's front court was a non factor on Saturday. John Simons disappeared. His 6 points were his lowest total this season against a team not named Northwestern. His 2 rebounds were his lowest total against anyone. Freshman Luke Meyer added a little bit of a scoring presence in the paint. He scored 9 on 4 of 6 shooting.
This win was the first against a Top 100 RPI opponent this season for the Cardinals.
Both teams return to action Wednesday. Ball State travels to Western Michigan, Central Michigan welcomes Miami.
|Points||Z. Turner (21)||R. Simmons (14)|
|Rebounds||M. Kamieniecki (10)||R. Simmons (5)|
|Assists||Z. Turner (5)||C. Fowler (4)|
|Blocks||F. House, B. Calhoun, M. Kamieniecki (1)||B. Hibbits (1)|
|Steals||Z. Turner (3)||C. Fowler (3)|