Similar to the weather outside, the Cardinals offense was frozen in the first half as they would down a season low 18 points in the first 20 minutes of the game.
The Cardinals would be able to get back on track in the second half, but the early hole was too deep to climb out of as Ball State Men's Basketball (10-6, 1-2 MAC) would suffer a lopsided loss to Ohio ( 9-6, 1-2 MAC), 70-52.
"I thought Ohio had a very similar thing happen to them against Bowling Green and it happened to us," head coach James Whitford said. "I thought they came ready to play and we didn't. We lacked the energy coming into the game."
Ohio was lockdown inside the paint as the Cardinals were only able to down 6-22 from close. In addition, strong defensive play converted into offense as Ohio would knock in 13 points off of turnovers and second chance opportunities. By the end of the first half, Ohio had a 39-18 lead with Teyvion Kirk breaking into double figures.
"They hurt us on the glass tonight, but I thought our interior defense was a lot better today," Whitford said. "However, we were really hurting on offense."
In the second half, the Cardinals saw a spark from Redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons he would knock down 12 points in the second half in hopes to start a comeback. Persons would also down two "and one" opportunities at the line.
"I have a lot of trust in him," Whitford said. "He's grown a lot in that area. Sometimes he gets so driven and he wants to do well so badly that it drives his decision making. That's all part of his growth and I trust him a lot on our team."
However, the Bobcats continued to rack up the score holding down a 20 point lead throughout. A huge dunk by Doug Taylor would only continue to add fuel to Ohio's fire for a 57-38 lead just over the halfway point of the second. The Cardinals continued to have trouble producing offensively and would eventually tie for their worst loss of the season.
In the loss, the Cardinals broke three players into double figures seeing Persons with 16, Redshirt junior guard K.J. Walton with 10 and sophomore forward Zach Gunn with 10. Starters junior forward Kyle Mallers, senior center Trey Moses and junior forward Tahjai Teague had low scoring finishes scoring five or less points.
The Cardinals will head on the road for their next four of five games. This stretch sees the Cardinals facing Bowling Green, who is on a six game winning streak, Central Michigan, who has two losses on the season, Ohio in Athens and No. 19 Buffalo. Whitford said that the team is looking to learn from this game and rebound going into this challenging stretch.
"I'm really concerned about learning lessons from this game," Whitford said. "We were not good on offense today at all and that was hard to watch. Like I always say, this is about the ball and being honest with each other. We need to look at each other, learn the valuable lessons and have a strong day tomorrow."
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