Cardinals Take on Wildcats in Sweet 16

Good day to you …

Take five for Thursday …

Many believed first-year coach Brady Sallee would struggle during his first go-round. And rightfully so. Sallee inherited an underrated group of players while taking over the reigns after incumbent coach Kelly Packard resigned last year. But Sallee and the Cardinals have shocked everyone this season by going 17-15 overall and 12-4 in the Mid-American Conference, third in the West. Sallee headed the Cardinals to their first winning season since 2008-09. Moreover, the Cardinals have advanced to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT, and will travel to Kansas State for a date with the Wildcats of the Big 12 tonight.

1) This is a good matchup for Ball State … The Wildcats finished 17-17, but just 5-13 in the Big 12. Ball State won four of its final five prior to reaching the semi final game of the MAC Tournament, while Kansas State dropped six of its final eight before the WNIT. The Wildcats are allowing over 64 points per contest while scoring just over 62.

2) The Cardinals will have their hands full … Kansas State is a program full of history. The Wildcats won the Big 12 in 2004 and 2008; they are the 13th D-1 women’s program with 800 all-time wins; they have appeared in 13 NCAA Tournaments; they boast 11 All-Americans and six WNBA draft picks. On the flip side, Ball State is a program looking to reach unchartered territory–a program looking to resurrect itself as a consistent winner. Sallee has this program on the right track. The Wildcats led the Big 12 in 3-pt field goals, averaging nearly nine per game.

3) Brandy Woody is the key … If the Cardinals live to see another day, Woody must maintain the level of play she’s showcased over the final half of the season. The Wildcats score … a lot. They’ll be looking to shoot as many long-range jumpers as possible. Senior guard Brittany Chambers averages leads the Wildcats in scoring with an average of 21.1 pointer per game. She’s second in scoring in the Big 12 behind Brittney Griner of Baylor, and second in 3-pt field goal percentage, 37.2 percent. Chambers is 12 for her last 22 attempts from beyond the arc thus far in the tournament. It’s vital for Woody to contain Chambers, and give the Cardinals offense a chance to put points on the board.

4) Ball State will enter a hostile environment … Ball State has proven it can win on the road this season, but it’s just 7-9 on the year. Tonight’s matchup inside Bramlage Coliseum will prove both tough and challenging. The Cardinals will enter a hostile environment–one where the home team is 10-6 on the year, averaging over 68 points per game in wins while allowing opponents to score 54.9 per game. Expect a large crowd this evening.

5) Team chemistry is vital for Ball State … The Cardinals are led by the “Super Seven.” It’s crucial for them to stick together. If the Wildcats get off to a quick start, the Cardinals cannot afford to panic, or lose their composure. Sallee has done an incredible job of rallying his team at the most opportune time of every game this season, and this one is no different.

Expect a close one tonight … Cards win by four.

Thanks for reading…

-Poz

One and done for Ball State

The expectations for No. 12 seeded Ball State heading into the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament weren’t high, and Central Michigan erased any chance Ball State had of advancing to Cleveland by routing the visitors 86-60 Saturday afternoon.

The Cardinals trailed the Chippewas the entire game. The offense was poor, shooting just 32.8 percent from the field. The defense was pitiful, surrendering 64 points in the paint. The Cardinals turned the ball over 28 times, allowing the Chippewas to score 22 points. The Chippewas converted 40 percent of their 90 total field goal attempts on the afternoon.

The Cardinals came within one point of the Chippewas midway through the first half, but the visitors couldn’t keep pace and were drastically overpowered by their opponent.

Despite the loss, senior co-captain forward Suzanne Grossnickle turned in a career-performance for the Cardinals. Grossnickle recorded her fifth double-double of the season, scoring a career-high 25 points and coming down with 14 boards.

The offseason begins Monday, and the Cardinals’ program is in limbo. The future of coach Kelly Packard remains unclear. Athletics director Tom Collins will meet with Packard in Muncie next week, marking the beginning of the evaluation process.

Cards host Central Michigan on Think Pink Day

With only four games remaining in an up-and-down 2011-12 season, Ball State coach Kelly Packard remains confident in her team to finish strong, especially at Worthen Arena.

“We need to seize the opportunity to finish MAC play with three of our last four games in Worthen Arena,” Packard said, according to ballstatesports.com. “The resolve to compete with the toughness to see another victory remains.”

Ball State will host Western Divisional rival Central Michigan in a 2 p.m. tipoff on Think Pink Day, as it looks to gain ground in the Mid-American Conference standings for the conference tournament in March.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals (8-17, 3-9), their play has largely been poor over their last nine games. They snapped a five-game winless streak with a 75-56 victory at Kent State on Feb. 1, but followed it up by dropping three straight.

Their latest defeat came at the hands of Western Divisional rival Northern Illinois on Thursday. The Cardinals never had a lead, and the Huskies made them pay by managing 20 points off of turnovers to the Cardinals’ 13. The free-throw line also plagued the visiting team. The Huskies sent their opponent to the line 22 times, but the Cardinals converted just 14 (63.6 percent).

Despite the unfavorable outcome, Packard remained appreciative of her team’s effort and will to compete.

“I’m still proud of the way this team is battling,” Packard said, following the Northern Illinois game. “I felt like we battled. I felt like we had multiple people that got on the floor after loose balls. I just think we need to continually shoot the ball at practice.”

The Cardinals had two days to shoot the ball around, as they welcome the Chippewas (13-13, 5-7) to Worthen Arena, looking to even the season series after losing 84-66 on Jan. 14 in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. On the other hand, the Chippewas are looking for their first win in Muncie in over a decade. The Chippewas last defeated the Cardinals in Worthen on Feb. 23, 1998 by a score of 99-75.

Protecting the ball and guarding the perimeter will be key for Ball State. Central Michigan is second in the conference with just under 11 steals per game. In addition, Central Michigan is the most lethal team in the conference from beyond the arc, averaging just under seven long-range jumpers per game.

Looking back…the Cardinals defeated the Chippewas in Worthen Arena last season on Jan. 15, 2011 by a score of 86-77. Three Cardinals reached double figures in points, including senior guard Ty’Ronda Benning and fellow senior Emily Maggert, who tallied a team-high 22 points a piece. Freshman forward Jazmin Hitchens recorded a career-high 20 points against the Chippewas.

Moving on…

Think Pink Day…Today’s game will bring awareness and education in regards to breast cancer and breast cancer survivors. The Cardinals will be wearing Play4Kay warm-up shirts, giving pledge cards away for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and pink tote bags.

Moving on…

Taking a look at both teams…

 

                                                                  Ball State                             Central Michigan

Scoring Offense                                         57.7                                               71.3

Scoring Defense                                        65.0                                               70.7

Scoring Margin                                         -7.2                                                +0.6

Free Throw Pct                                           67.6                                               63.1

Field Goal Pct                                             36.5                                                38.3

Field Goal Pct Defense                             42.7                                                39.3

3-Point FG Pct                                             28.3                                               30.8

3-Point FG Pct Defense                             31.3                                                31.2

3-Point FG Made per Game                      5.1                                                  6.3

Rebounding Offense                                   36.7                                               43.4

Rebounding Defense                                  37.7                                               43.8

Rebounding Margin                                   -1.0                                               -0.4

Blocked Shots                                                3.2                                                 4.0

Assists per Game                                          13.2                                               12.4

Steals per Game                                             9.3                                                 11.6

Turnover Margin                                          -1.4                                                +1.6

Assist/Turnover Ratio                                 0.6                                                  0.7

Moving on…

It would be nice to see senior guard Megan Craft get some playing time. Craft, who’s specialty is shooting the three, has recorded a team-low 51 minutes this season. Last season, Craft led the Cardinals in  3-point field goal percentage (54.8 percent). As poorly as this team has played of late, would it hurt anything to see Craft finish her career on a positive note, rather than just ride the bench?

That’s all for now…check back for updates

-Pozz

Buffalo leads Ball State 30-15 at halftime

It would be reasonable to think Ball State would come out aggressive and hungry against Buffalo, especially on their home floor. The momentum was on the home team’s side while the visitors have lost three in a row and nine of the last 10 games. But the Cardinals were thoroughly outplayed in every possible manner in the first half.

The Bulls physically took it to the Cardinals. Bulls’ leading scorer Brittany Hedderson recorded 10 first half points, while Nytor Longar also turned in a 10-point first half. The Bulls outscored the Cardinals 18-to-2 in the paint. The Cardinals’ defense struggled to contain Longar, who at 6-foot-2, is the tallest player on the Bulls roster. Suzanne Grossnickle, who is also listed as 6-foot-2, was given the responsibility of covering Longar, but the senior co-captain didn’t fair well.

The Cardinals’ offense went cold as well, going 9:32 without scoring a field goal. During that span, the Bulls put together a 14-0 run, taking control of the first half.

More to come…

***

Good day from Worthen Arena…

Ball State women’s basketball head coach Kelly Packard has partnered up with the Barefoot Coaching Program for Samaritan’s Feet, and will be coaching shoeless when her team hosts Mid-American Conference rival Buffalo this afternoon.

“I am excited to bring Samaritan’s Feet, particularly, the Barefoot Coaching Movement, to Ball State University,” Packard said in a press release. The Barefoot Coaching platform assists Samaritan’s Feet in raising funds in order to take shoes directly to underprivileged children. The shoes meet a physical need, and the personal touch of the delivery and distribution of the shoes creates hope.”

Ball State (8-14, 3-6) snapped its five-game losing skid with a 75-56 triumph at Kent State on Wednesday night. It was just the second road win of the season for the Cardinals, with their other victory away from Worthen Arena coming via a 55-50 win at Evansville back on Nov. 29, 2011. The win over the Golden Flashes also gave Ball State its first conference road victory of the season. Three players reached double-figures in scoring for Ball State, including a game-high 16-point outing from junior guard Shanee’ Jackson. Senior co-captain forward Suzanne Grossnickle also had a stellar performance, earning a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. Grossnickle was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field. Sophomore guard Brandy Woody also had a noteworthy game, finishing with 13 points.

Buffalo has struggled of late. The Bulls come to Muncie on the heels of a 102-92 loss at Western Michigan on Thursday night. Their lone conference victory came over Northern Illinois on Jan. 22 by a score of 65-46. Senior guard Brittany Hedderson leads the Bulls offensively, averaging over 20 points per contest.

On paper, it’ll be tough for Buffalo to pull out a rare road win, especially at Worthen Arena, where Ball State is at its best.

Early Bird: Despite loss, Cards showed heart

Good day. Let’s get down to business…

In my preview of last night’s matchup between the dominant Bowling Green Falcons and struggling Ball State Cardinals, I wasn’t fooling anyone by saying that the visiting Falcons were rolling on all cylinders.

The odds were heavily against the Cardinals. They were up against a team that has been notoriously consistent in winning over the years. The Falcons are the seven-time defending Mid-American Conference Champions. Falcons’ coach Curt Miller had 250 career-wins as BG’s coach heading into the game as opposed to just 56 wins for Ball State coach Kelly Packard. Miller, a five-time MAC Coach of Year recipient, is the third-winningest coach in MAC women’s basketball history during league competition. To add to his accolades, Miller became the fastest MAC coach to reach 200 wins.

As a team, the Falcons have three players who averaged 10 or more points per game, including junior guard and Carmel, Ind. native Chrissy Steffen (14.6 points/game), sophomore forward and Duke transfer Alexis Rogers (12.5 points/game) and senior guard Jessica Slagle (10.6 points/game). That’s a tough lineup to matchup against when your leading scorer, sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens averaged 10.7 points heading into the game.

But the young Cardinals held their own against the mighty Falcons. Despite trailing by 17 at the half, the Cardinals held a two-point advantage in points in the paint, second chance points and drew even with their opponents in rebounds, with 15.

Their inability to make easy buckets at opportune times plagued the Cardinals all night long, along with the multitude of lousy turnovers. On many occasions, the Cardinals turned the ball over on a baseline out-of-bounds play, which resulted in points the other way.

“Our kids battled to the end,” Packard said, following the game. “They were at one point up [a lot]. The fact that we closed it down means that we didn’t give up. That’s important right now. They’re 7-0. That’s as best as it gets in the MAC right now. There was a point there where we could have really folded, and we didn’t.”

It was a loss that was expected. In fact, it was believed that the Cardinals should’ve lost by wider margin than the actual 11-point margin once the final buzzer sounded.

But winning is more than just a mindset. It’s an attitude. It’s a culture, a way of life. Taking care of the little things builds a foundation for success. The Cardinals have an assortment of young talent, which makes it difficult to rack up a bunch of wins. This team is and will continue to suffer through a vast amount of growing pains, but the future looks bright.

Early Bird: Zips lead 43-31 at halftime

Following its previous game at Toledo on Thursday night, Ball State was envisioned holding Akron in check on the boards and underneath the basket, but a late surge gave the visitors a 43-31 lead as the first half came to a close.

The Cardinals started off strong against the Zips. Sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens missed a long-range jumper, but classmate forward Katie Murphy snagged the rebound, pivoted, and made the layup with 16:42 remaining in the half. Just 38 seconds later, Murphy grabbed another board and made the routine layup to give the Cardinals a 10-7 lead.

But the Zips came roaring back thanks in large part to sophomore guard/forward Sina King, who led both teams with 10 points and tied for the lead with five rebounds. Time after time King was dealt uncontested looks at the basket, resulting in easy buckets for the Zips.

To cap the first half, Zips’ senior guard Natasha Williams dribbled through the entire Cardinals’ defense en route to the basket where she would ultimately make the layup and draw a foul with 1.6 seconds to go before halftime.

***

From press row…The Cardinals and Zips are sit to tip off in under a half hour here at Worthen Arena. I thought I would go ahead and share a few pieces of noteworthy information with you pertaining to today’s game.

  • Despite owning an overall record of 8-11, Akron’s offense is ranked in the top 25 in virtually every category. Akron is 22nd in field goal percentage (.439), 21st in scoring offense (74.8 points/game) and 25th in 3-point field goals made per game (6.9).
  • The Zips lead the Mid-American Conference in scoring offense, field goal percentage, 3-point field goals made per game and assists (15.7/game). The Zips rank second in the MAC with a 0.8 assist/turnover ratio.
  • Junior guard Taylor Ruper ranks 11th in the country in 3-point field goals made per game (3.0) and 17th in 3-point field goal percentage (.422).
  • Coach Kelly Packard said the most important thing for her team to do this afternoon is to defend the transition game. “We need to continue to protect our home court as we begin MAC East divisional play,” Packard said, according to the official game notes. “Akron has a balanced scoring attack fed largely in part by their transition offense. Subtracting transition baskets will be a core focus of our team defense.”

***

Good evening and welcome to this edition of the Early BirdA 63-48 loss at Mid-American Conference Western Division rival Toledo capped a dismal two-game road swing for Ball State. A horrid shooting average of 26 percent combined with poor interior defense resulted in more frustration for this young team.

But unlike other sports, such as football, where a team must sit on a loss for an entire week before getting another opportunity to win, basketball, in some instances, is played multiple times per week.

Ball State returns to Worthen Arena, with another chance to muster out a win when it plays host to Eastern Division foe Akron at 1 p.m.

The Zips enter today’s game having dropped three of their last five games. In their latest game, the Zips lost a heartbreaker, 72-71 in overtime at conference opponent Ohio. Despite the loss, three Zips reached double figures in scoring, including sophomore guard Sina King, who notched a team-leading 15 points, junior guard Taylor Ruper, who recorded 14 points and sophomore guard Hanna Luburgh, who tallied 12 points. King also led the Zips with 16 boards in the loss.

Playing at Worthen has been advantageous for the Cardinals over the last few seasons. Since coach Kelly Packard’s inaugural season in 2008, the Cardinals are 37-18 during the regular season at home and 20-7 at home during conference games. In their nine home games this season, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents by 11 points.

The Cardinals have dropped two of their last three games to the Zips. In 2008-09, the Cardinals came away with a 61-55 road win. In 2009-10, the Zips clung to a 66-64 overtime win at Worthern. And last season, the Zips cruised to a 78-65 home victory.

Ball State currently finds itself in a two-way tie with Western Michigan for fourth place in the Western Division standings. Both the Cardinals and Broncos will tipoff this afternoon. A win would draw the Cardinals closer in the division, while a loss would sink them even further.

Early Bird: Road woes continue for Cardinals

Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of the Early Bird (or in this case another edition of necessary roughness)…The Ball State women’s basketball team dropped their third straight Mid-American Conference road game, a 63-48 defeat at Toledo on Thursday night. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, resulting in another disheartening outing for coach Kelly Packard and her team.

The stat that told the game was the differential in shooting percentage. The Rockets shot an impressive 48 percent from the floor, while the Cardinals tallied an inexcusable 26 percent, their worst shooting percentage of the season. You have to go back to February 27, 2010 to find the last time the Cardinals recorded that low of a shooting percentage. It was against those same Rockets. The Cardinals shot 26.4 percent from the field and lost in similar fashion, 62-48.

Packard said her teams’ post defense struggled considerably to contain the Rockets’ offense.

“Really poor,” Packard said. “We gave up a 20-point night on 9-for-10 shooting to Yolanda Richardson. We actually did a lot of things well defensively, but in that area, we didn’t do well at all. I felt like our team defense outside of the post was actually pretty good tonight.”

Richardson was a concern for Packard and her staff heading into the game. Due to injuries to freshman Neschelle Williams (ankle) and Katie Murphy (ankle), Packard started senior co-captain forward Suzanne Grossnickle and sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens at the interior post positions. Murphy did see some playing time, but was limited. Senior co-captain center Amber Crago also was part of the rotation, but despite being the tallest player on the team (6-foot-3), Crago was virtually invisible. The forward combination was the most disappointing group of players on the floor for Ball State. Grossnickle, Hitchens, Murphy and Crago went a combined 4-for-21 from the field and just 1-for-5 from long range.

Moving on…Packard said if her team played any post defense whatsoever, they would’ve been in the game. While tracking the entire game against the Rockets, I don’t see how that is even remotely possible. The Cardinals weren’t even close to being in the game. Even if they had played aggressively in the post, they couldn’t score to save their lives. Shooting 26 percent from the field is insulting. Sure they’re a young team, but there have been times where this young group of players has excelled. In their 78-73 double overtime triumph over visiting Stetson on Dec. 4, the Cardinals shot 47.3 percent from the field. In their 81-72 defeat over visiting Murray State on Nov. 19, the Cardinals shot 53.8 percent from the floor. This team is certainly capable of scoring points and the dismal shooting percentage versus the Rockets is unacceptable.

Moving on…On Friday, Ball State athletic director Tom Collins, who has held his position since January 2006, announced he will step down when his contract expires in June. Collins, who has been viewed by many as a poor leader, said he is leaving due to family reasons. That could be so. But there certainly could be more to the story than what meets the naked eye. Trying to determine other possible reasons for Collins’ sudden decision are few and far between. But speculation always emerges in a story like this. It could be due Pete Lembo, who Collins hired as head coach of the football program in December of 2010. Lembo, who has created a lot of new energy within the program, is said to have also butted heads with many in athletics. Of course, this is all pure speculation. Let’s not jump off the cliff here. The university could also be covering up something bigger. Again, complete speculation. But it’ll be intriguing to see if there is more to it than Collins is leading us to believe.

Moving on…Grossnickle received votes for MAC Player of the Week honors. Grossnickle, a Belleville East High, Ill., alum, executed a tremendous 3-point play late in the second half against Northern Illinois on Jan. 11, which enabled the Cardinals to hold on for the 50-43 victory. She scored 10 points in 10 minutes of playing time against the Huskies while also recording 11 points and seven rebounds at Central Michigan in a 84-66 loss on Jan. 14. Over her last three games, Grossnickle has gone 8-for-19 from the field, 2-for-5 from 3-point range and a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe. It would be huge for Grossnickle to heat up for the Cardinals as they look to rebound from here on out.

Moving on…The Cardinals return to Worthen Arena following a dissatisfying two-game road trip, where they were outscored 147-114. The Cardinals will host Eastern Division rival Akron at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Akron was dealt a heartbreaking 72-71 loss at Ohio on Thursday. Three Zips reached double figures in scoring, including sophomore guard Sina King (15 points), junior guard Taylor Ruper (14 points) and sophomore guard Hanna Luburgh (12 points). King also led the team with 16 boards in the loss. The Zips own an 8-11 overall record and are 2-3 in the MAC. The Zips are 1-2 on the road during conference play this season.

Outlook: Surprisingly, the Cardinals are a perfect 2-for-2 on their home floor during conference play this season, which makes this game all the more important for this team, which desperately needs a win to stay in contention. Murphy will likely play against the Zips, but Williams remains questionable. Murphy, Grossnickle and Crago will need to elevate their game for the Cardinals to win. Also, the team must get more clean looks at the basket.

That’s all for now…

Thanks for reading,

-Poz

Morning Bird: Cards host Northern Illinois in pivotal MAC game

Good evening and welcome to the first edition of the Early Bird in 2012….

After a disappointing handful of games over the holiday break, which included four losses to just one win, Ball State (6-9, 1-1) returns to John E. Worthen Arena for pivotal Mid-American Conference game against Northern Illinois (6-8, 0-2) tonight at 7 p.m.

The Cardinals are 1-4 in their last five games and have dropped six of their last nine since they put together a three-game winning streak earlier this season. Losses include a 67-53 defeat to visiting Valparaiso on Dec. 18, an 80-39 thrashing from No. 14 Wisconsin-Green Bay on Dec. 20, a 60-58 home loss to Marshall on Dec. 31 and their latest defeat, a 76-64 loss at conference foe Western Michigan on Sunday.

Nonetheless, coach Kelly Packard is anxious to return to Worthern, where she owns a 19-7 record against conference opponents since the start of her tenure at Ball State in 2008-09.

“Being able to hold serve at home in when you’re in your conference is such a must, quite honestly,” Packard said. “The road is tough.”

The Cardinals are looking to put a string of wins together after dropping four of their last five games. In order to do so, Packard said her team must control the boards on both sides of the court.

“It’s kind of been a drum I’ve been beating and will continue to beat throughout the rest of the season,” Packard said. “When we rebound well, we usually position to win at the finish line. That’s a theme for us. We’ve responded to my plea for rebounding at certain times, certainly against Eastern Michigan. [They] outrebounded us by one, but that’s a team that outrebounds their opponents by eight. I said to our girls today that rebounding is a season specific topic. We can’t win if we don’t rebound the ball.”

Moving on…

It could be tough for the Cardinals to score from beyond the arc as the Huskies are the best team in the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage defense, yielding just over 26-percent long range jumpers to their opponents. Despite the Huskies’ impressive statistic, the Cardinals have a duo of players who have shined from beyond the arc this season. Freshman guard Brittany Carter currently ranks second in the MAC with a 44.6 shooting-percentage from long range, while sophomore forward Jazmin Hitchens is fourth in the conference with a 40.6 3-point field goal percentage.

That’s all for now…

 

 

 

15-0 run gives Cards two-point lead at halftime

Following a pair of frustrating losses, Ball State had minimal room for error in its non-conference finale against visiting Marshall. The Herd jumped out to a 9-2 run to open the game. But the Cardinals responded with a run of their own, nursing a 28-26 lead at intermission.

The scoring surge started with a free throw from junior guard Shanee’ Jackson, and then the Cardinals took off. Sophomore guard Brandy Woody followed with a layup before sophomore forward Jazmine Hitchens sank a 3-point field goal to pull the Cardinals within one. An easy layup from senior center co-captain Amber Crago gave the Cardinals a 10-9 lead, their first of the game.

The scoring didn’t stop there. What started out as a seven point deficit resulted in a 15-0 run by the home team.

Hitchens tallied nine first-half points, converting four of seven field goals and a three-point field goal. Junior guard Shanee’ Jackson recorded seven points.

 

Grossnickle heads Cardinals to five-point halftime lead

Senior co-captain forward Suzanne Grossnickle averaged just under eight minutes per game heading into this afternoon’s contest against Austin Peay.

Through the first 20 minutes, Grossnickle has been at the center of Ball State’s offense. She leads the team with 12 points, including two 3-point field goals and has converted four of her seven field goals. While scoring points, Grossnickle has been an unstoppable force underneath the basket, pulling down a team-leading seven rebounds, including four offensive boards.

Freshman guard Brittany Carter has had a noteworthy half as well for Ball State. Her eight points is second to Grossnickle at the half as well as her two 3-point jumpers. Both Grossnickle and Carter have combined for 20 of Ball State’s 34 points at the half, nearly 59-percent of the scoring.

Friday evening against Butler, the Cardinals struggled to maintain control of the basketball, committing 27 turnovers. So far against the Governors, the Cardinals have been guilty of just seven turnovers. The Cardinals assist to turnover ratio has also increased to 1.14 compared to the Governors’ 0.36.