I.U. Assembly Hall: Hostile and unforgiving to BSU
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - Ball State University Coach Billy Taylor referred to his first coaching visit to historic I.U. Assembly Hall on Sunday as the most hostile environment the Cardinals will face this season.
That 101-53 humiliation at the hands of the No. 1 ranked Hoosiers and their national championship banners is something that Taylor promised to work through with his young basketball team that just got beat 20 points by Indiana State last week.
Taylor acknowledged during the Monday basketball media briefing that it was easy to get down after two numbing defeats, but he was confident the team would work through adversity and be ready for a busy week with Cleveland State visiting on Wednesday and a trip to the storied Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday to face 34th ranked Butler. The Indiana loss was the worst for Taylor since he took over the program in 2006.
And it continued the long lists of loses to No. 1 ranked teams like Duke, Connecticut and Nebraska.
The coach credited his team, led by Majok Majok with 18 points, with 10 minutes of solid play, but Indiana dominated after that with Hoosier 1,000 point club member Jordan Hulls hitting five for five in the first half and finishing with 17 points.and fellow Hoosier Will Sheehey shooting eight for nine with 19 points coming off the bench. Cardinal Jauwan Scaife could only contribute 11 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Taylor was concerned that Cardinal Jesse Berry fell off the tempo early in the game with three turnovers and a travel. Berry finished with only eight points.
Cardinal Matt Kamieniecki managed to pull down nine rebounds, but I.U. shooting 60.3 percent from the field just killed any chance for the Cardinals to stay in the game even before halftime.
Taylor said Majok, born in the Sudan and grew up in Australia, was still a player to watch. Recent home games have attracted a little more than 3,000 fans and the university is looking for ways to increase attendance.
The home game on Wednesday with Cleveland State will be tough, Taylor said, with a point guard that is a high scorer and other inside and outside players that can rebound and score. "They are hungry," said Taylor about the the next opponent.
And Butler just came off runner up in the Maui Invitational, ranked 34th in the nation, and came was Final Four finalists in 2010-11 under Coach Brad Stevens.
The Cardinals also go to Mackey Arena on Dec. 18 to play Purdue.