Ball State Men’s Basketball (13-16, 8-10 MAC) had five turnovers and missed its first seven shots in the first five minutes of its 79-60 loss to Akron (20-9, 13-6 MAC). Out of a timeout, it took another two minutes for Ball State to score thanks to a slam dunk by junior guard Demarius Jacobs. They were still down just 6-2.
From there, Akron’s Mikal Dawson hit two consecutive 3-pointers and it was what the Zips needed to open up their lead for the rest of the half and go into the break with a 32-20 lead.
“We dug ourselves in a hole early,” head coach James Whitford said. “Their defense was unique. I thought our guys competed and played hard. They really tried. It was our decision-making. We made some uncharacteristic decisions. Credit to Akron. I thought they played a really good game. We were not quite as resilient on the defensive end as I would have liked, but we hung in during a frustrating game.”
The Cardinals’ nine turnovers 6-for-25 shooting contributed to their low-scoring half. They came out of the break similar to the first half, as they committed four early turnovers and didn’t score for the first four minutes. They had 15 total turnovers and shot 36 percent from the field.
After a timeout, Ball State came out with more energy, as redshirt junior forward Miryne Thomas made a 3-pointer, a pair of free throws and sophomore guard Tyler Cochran made a layup to give them some momentum. Anytime Ball State would find energy late in the game, Akron would either draw a foul or make a shot.
Cochran led Ball State with 18 points and 10 rebounds followed by Jacobs with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Whitford said the energy was better in the second half, which will give them confidence as the Mid-American Conference looms.
“We can carry it,” Whitford said. “Our guys are trying hard to get it right. I told them in the locker room that they need to take this and eat it. They beat us, and it is a part of our growth.
Ball State plays its last game of the season, as they travel to Western Michigan Friday, March. 4 at 6 p.m.
Contact Ian Hansen with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ianh_2.