Ball State returned to Worthen Arena for their second game of the 2023 campaign on Saturday afternoon. With one stand-out offensive performance and multiple big plays in the second half, the Cardinals walked off the court with a victory.
Here are four takeaways from the Cardinals’ (2-0) 73-68 win over Old Dominion (0-2).
Both contestants made mistakes
The Monarchs came into the contest after defeating Virginia Wesleyan 71-57. In the victory, the Monarchs outscored their opponent 40-26 in the first half. However, their visit to Muncie was different as they trailed 38-36.
Missed shots plagued the team as it seemed they had no momentum. The Monarchs missed layups, jump shots, and had a ball bounce off the side of the backboard. Due to this, the Cardinals were able to turn those mistakes into points.
However, the Cardinals had issues as well. Multiple turnovers allowed the Monarchs to make a run at the end of the first half. Ball State ended the game with 14 turnovers while Old Dominion had 15.
Jalin Anderson’s offensive performance
In the first half, the junior guard came out of the gates on fire. The Cardinals scored 11 points in the first six minutes, with Anderson having eight of those points.
Yet it wasn’t just his ability to shoot the deep ball or make some highlight-worthy layups. He was consistent in doing so. He hit his first six shots of the game, with three of those being three-pointers.
He finished the first half with 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting and had four rebounds. When he took the floor to start the second, Anderson’s offensive production slowed down a bit but he still knocked down multiple shots.
He finished his second game with Ball State with 29 points and nine rebounds, which were career highs.
Monarchs’ ability to score inside
While the Cardinals valued their perimeter shooting, Old Dominion used its play in the paint to break down Ball State’s defense. It wasn’t the fact that the Monarchs had multiple dunks and layups. It was how consistently they did it.
Even when it seemed that the Cardinals had an answer for their opponent and made multiple adjustments, another shot would find the bottom of the basket. In the first half, the Monarchs had 30 points inside the paint while the Cardinals had eight.
The second half was more of the same as Old Dominion continued to chip away with layups and great inside play. They finished the game with 44 points in the paint. The Cardinals had 18.
The Cardinals made plays when they needed to
The second half opened with some negative plays by Ball State. Missed shots and turnovers led to Old Dominion stealing the lead. For the rest of the half, it looked as if the Monarchs had all of the momentum.
Yet the Cardinals were not finished. With 6:10 left in the game, junior forward Basheer Jihad hit a three-pointer that gave Ball State the lead. Following that, the Cardinals continued to find ways to make plays.
With things like a layup that drew a foul late in the game by Anderson, a five-second violation on the Monarchs, and multiple successful free throws by multiple Cardinals, Ball State was able to secure its second straight victory in Muncie.
Contact Zach Carter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @ZachCarter85.