Ball State falls to conference leader Toledo

Freshmen guard Zavier Turner signals the play to his fellow team members while looking for a hole in Toledo’s defense. Ball State had 21 turnovers during their drives against Toledo. Photo by Corey Ohlenkamp

Technical by Toledo's Julius Brown directed at Ball State guard Zavier Turner

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) -  Ball State stepped up Saturday and tied conference leader Toledo at halftime and was one possession away after Rocket guard Julius Brown committed a technical.

Ball State guard Zavier Turner said Brown told him he would beat the shit out of him.

After Turner shot to free throw and left the game at 68-67 in favor of Toledo, fellow Rocket guard Justin Drummond scored twice while a rough travel call fell on Ball State center Majok Majok and a turnover allowed Toledo to score again.

 The final score at 80-73 was another game that Ball State let slip away, especially since two other Toledo players fouled out with minutes to go. The game put Toledo in that 20-3 group that is usually guaranteed a bid to the NCAA tournament in March. Ball State fell to 4-17 with hopes of a better season next year.

Ball State coach James Whitford said it was a hard fought game in the last eight minutes with the technical, and Majok continuing to score despite the heavy defense from a taller and tougher Toledo.

After explaining the travel and turnover, Whitford simply simply said Toledo scored more points to win the game.

For fans, it was just another game that slipped away like a couple of others to Worthen Arena. And the fan base has faded to 2,722 people on Saturday, among the lowest this season and in recent years.

 Turner said the team did everything to win and contributed 19 points. Majok had 17 and forward Chris Bond put up 12.

But Toledo guard Rian Pearson had 20 while Brown added 18 with Drummond contributing 12 and center Nathan Boothe with 11. And Brown was named MAC West player of week with 22.5 point average.

Toledo Coach Tod Kowalczyk said Whitford was doing a great job at Ball State and his team let the Cardinals control the game at a couple points that could have changed the outcome.

The game was tied at halftime 35-35 and then a a one possession game twice late the the second half.

But he also thought it was great his team reached the 20-3 mark like some other Top 25 teams. Syracuse stands atop the college ranks at 23-0 while Arizona is second with a 21-1 record.