Ball State opened its lead early, and didn't look back. The Cardinals earned their first win of the season at home en route to improving the season's overall record to 1-1.
Three takeaways from the win over Eastern Illinois.
1. With work and patience, BSU's front-court could turn out to be one of the conference's best. Accounting for the majority of the Cardinal's points, the front-court players wearing cardinal and white proved themselves strong. Bo Calhoun, Franko House, Trey Moses, and Nate Wells all played very well. Although House found himself in early foul trouble, the first substitution of the evening provided to be a good one. Early and often Bo Calhoun got involved in the Ball State scoring. The senior led the Cardinals in scoring with 17 points and also led in rebounds with 12. Number twelve showed strength, as did each of the Ball State big men. It will be key to keep an eye on the post players through the next few games, determining whether the consistent play will continue.
2. Freshman guard Francis Kiapway will probably turn out to be pretty good. Brought into the game during the matchup's first media timeout, Kiapway showed quickly why he's trusted to get his playing time. The freshman ended up with 12 points and 2 boards, connecting three times front beyond the arc. Doesn't seem like a huge takeaway does it? Well, it's not incredibly impactful until you add in the defense. Kiapway defending well throughout the second half allowing Ball State to slow the three-point shooting of the Panthers.
3. Connecting from 'Three-Point Land' may be the key for the offense. Yes, consistent inside play is always needed and the big men for Ball State are going to be key, but when shooters are knocking down shots, the offense clicks. Each of the starting guards showed inconsistency shooting in the home opener, but the bench picked up the slack. Francis Kiapway and Jeremie Tyler each knocked down three point shots, sparking the BSU offense in the second half. Sean Sellers was 0-1, which is acceptable as the sophomore posted a double-double. Bo Calhoun put up four three-pointers, and went 0-4. So as cliche as this takeaway sounds, it's going to prove to be a big part of the Ball State offense.
The Cardinals are 1-1 on the year, and travel to Eastern Kentucky to compete in the EKU Hoops Classic on November 20th, where they will face off agains the host team Colonels at 6:00pm.