Cardinals Shoot Past Rockets in Men’s Hoops, 86-72
Free Press Report
TOLEDO, OH - The Ball State men’s basketball team continued its hot streak Saturday with an 86-72 Mid-American Conference road win over Toledo at Savage Arena.
MAC Player of the Year candidate Jauwan Scaife scored 28 points and backcourt mate Jesse Berry finished with 22 to help the Cardinals to their fifth win in the past six games. Ball State has now scored at least 85 points in three straight games.
Scaife and Berry combined for 10 3-pointers Saturday, helping Ball State shoot 54.7 percent for the game and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Chris Bond joined the duo in double figures with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
Ball State held Toledo to 28.6 percent from the floor in the second half and owned a massive 44-24 advantage on the glass for the game. Matt Kamieniecki led all players with nine rebounds.
The Cardinals (13-14, 6-8 MAC) earned a split of the season series with Toledo (13-13, 8-6 MAC). Ball State has just two regular-season games remaining and will be back on the road again Tuesday for a 7 p.m. contest at Western Michigan.
“We have a little bit of a streak going,” Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. “We have a good rhythm offensively, and I love the confidence I see in our players right now.”
Scaife continued his dominant play Saturday and is now averaging 20 points per game in MAC play and 25.7 over his past six games. Berry topped the 20-point mark for the sixth time this season.
Ball State used a 15-0 run in the second half to turn a 50-48 deficit into a 63-50 lead with 10:54 to play. The Rockets rallied to get within two at 71-69 on a Dominique Buckley 3-pointer with 5:02 left, but Scaife answered with a 3 of his own for Ball State.
Berry hit a trey two possessions later to push the lead to 77-69 with 3:19 to play, and Toledo never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Ball State’s rebounding and defense helped it overcome a 21-10 deficit in the turnover column. The Cardinals also held a 30-20 advantage in the paint and were able to turn their defense into transition offense.
“I thought our defense was terrific in the second half,” Taylor said. “It was really stingy. We had a lot of activity on ball screens. We wanted to try to make them play more isolation basketball, and we had a lot of guys rotating on defense and making plays for us.”
Rian Pearson led four Toledo players in double figures with 20 points, followed by Matt Smith with 16, Nathan Boothe with 12 and Julius Brown with 11.
Ball State won its third straight trip to Savage Arena. The Cardinals have now won three straight road games and four of their past five away from home this season.
See more at BallStateSports.com