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Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Ball State Cardinals men's basketball final: Ball State never led, Flashes win 76-68

Pollard with 22 points, Khaliq Spicer owned it on defense. Cardinals never led.

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ball State refuses to have an early lead. 

After having to rally from being down 16 points to Miami on Saturday, Ball State thought they'd be funny by doing it again by being down 10 points to Kent State in the first half. It took some crucial 3-pointers by Sean Sellers and Jeremie Tyler to get themselves into a two-possession game. But the Flashes kept doing their thing, got to the free throw line, cut to the basket and executed while the Cardinals were trying to play catch-up when they were in an 8-0 in the first three minutes.

2. Jimmy Hall being in foul trouble is easy when you're already up by a lot.

Dude went two games without picking up a foul before tonight; picked up his third foul just 35 seconds into the second half just to head to the bench with eight points. No matter, the Flashes would continue to take care of business and get to an 12-point lead with Kellon Thomas doing his thing.

Hall would finish with only four fouls against him, putting up 14 points total. Wasn't his best game, but 20+ points out of Xavier Pollard and Thomas were huge for the Flashes.

3. Flashes simply shot more free throws, and better from the floor.

Kent State was able to draw a lot of fouls in the road contest. 20 points alone came from the charity stripe (25 attempts), as opposed to Ball State's 9-for-13 stat line. That's in large part due to Ball State shooting more 3-pointers (11-for-24) than Kent State (6-for-14), who likes to get the ball in the lane.

The efficiency, obviously, betters the odds as well for the Flashes. Also picking up more rebounds than the Cardinals, Kent State had a field goal percentage of 51, BSU shooting 40.7 percent. Cardinals were led by redshirt-sophomore Ryan Weber with 16 points. Jeremie Tyler had 11, but only made four of his 12 shot attempts.

Game Leaders

Player Ball State Kent State
Points Ryan Weber (16) Xavier Pollard (22)
Rebounds Bo Calhoun (10) Chris Ortiz (12)
Assists Franko House (7) Xavier Pollard (4)
Blocks 2 with one Khaliq Spicer (5)
Steals Jeremie Tyler (3) Khaliq Spicer (2)