Ball State (3-1) protected Worthen Arena and defeated Indiana University South Bend (3-4) by a score of 86-72 on November 19. The Cardinals started the game with an early lead and kept it throughout. Here are four takeaways from The Cardinal’s Victory.
Missed shots in the first half
Ball State finished the first half with 13 of 26 (50 percent) from the field and was 4 of 11 (36 percent) on three-pointers.
Multiple misses allowed the Titans to stay in the game, but on the other hand, they went 14-of-32 (44 percent) and mirrored the Cardinals’ three-point stat line.
After halftime, the Cardinals got going again. They went in the second half on 17 of 25 (68 percent) and with three pointers on 6 of 10 (60 percent).
Redshirt student Mickey Pearson Jr. played an important bench role for the Cardinals. He helped with the team’s struggling shooting as he led the team down the stats line and went to 100 percent with 12 points.
The Payton Sparks and Jaylin Sellers Show
With Cardinals shooting problems in the first half, sophomore Center Payton Sparks led the team with 12 points, with most of his points coming from the free throw line.
The 6ft 9in Spark wasn’t afraid to pull in and make the contact. He forced several fouls, including a foul on a dunk that had Ball State’s crowd on their feet.
Aside from drawing fouls, he was able to push back Titan defenders and put the ball in the hoop.
He finished the game with 17 points and scored 7 of 10 (70 percent) on free throws. But offensive was not his only highlight, defensively he was able to turn off every Titan who drove to the basket.
But it wasn’t just Sparks who helped the team when they needed it. Sophomore guard Jaylin Sellers proved to be a real problem for the Titans. From cutting moves for layups to his three-point shooting, he was there for his team.
He led the Cardinals in 14 rebounds and had 18 points, his new career high.
The presence of Michael Lewis on the pitch
Head Coach Michael Lewis wasn’t afraid to show his emotions to the referees or his athletes. After a Cardinal celebrated a successful three-point attempt, Lewis urged his team to “just play.”
A few minutes later he let the referees hear it when a foul was called on second striker Basheer Jihad. He ended up walking the other way, still shaking his head.
His attitude didn’t change in the second half, he was constantly calling plays and pointing things out to his team, Lewis was active and didn’t let up.
After a shot clock injury that left the Cardinals unable to get a shot, Lewis showed his frustration.
In the end, the first-year head coach had relaxed as his team walked away with a 14-point victory.
Lewis’ side struggled to contain the Titans in the first half, but they were able to hold a decent lead at the break.
But after getting out of the half, the Titans came out and scored 18 points to Ball State’s 17. They were helped by the Titans’ ability to put down three-pointers.
After a media timeout, Ball State was down by six. But after that, they started finding ways to hold on to the visiting team, forcing four turnovers and picking up three blocks.