The Bulls won. Ball State has a knack for keeping games close, but UB converted their offensive opportunities late to keep the visitors at arm's length.
1. Balanced Scoring
I still feel the need to point this one out whenever it happens. Double-digit scoring from four different players, all starters. The bench numbers aren't great, but everyone contributed on the scoreboard. This is how you win.
In secondary stats, two players had six assists, the media number of rebounds was three, and five different players notched a steal. This is how you win.
2. End game execution
With 5:30 to play, UB led by three after at times enjoying a double-digit lead in the second half. Over the next four and half minutes, Ball State only scored one point. Meanwhile the Bulls turned six of eight possessions into points and a 61-58 lead into a 70-59 advantage. In this stretch, UB outrebounded Ball State 5-1. That sort of late-game execution is what pushed the Bulls over the top in their regular season surge last year.
3. Making the easy ones
Neither team shot well from outside, but UB was 21-34 (61%) inside the arc and 19-26 (73%) from line. That's a sign of a team getting the ball in close and making the most of it. Only Ikenna Smart (1-3) and Jarryn Skeete (0-1) shot less than 50% from inside the arc
Player of the Game: Lamonte Bearden
Less than the point totals, Lamonte made 8 of 14 shots, finding clean enough looks to not head to the foul line that often, in part because he dished six assists and wasn't running into multiple players in the lane. That's the sweet spot of where he needs to be this year.
1. Top of the MAC one day, bottom the next
Inconsistency continues to be a problem. This team can easily beat any team in the MAC when they are playing at their best. My problem is if they can string together any consistency when the MAC tournament finally rolls around. In the team's current state, I don't see us winning 3-4 games in a row because of this issue.
2. Skeete's defense is a major reason for us winning that game
Throughout the season, Nate Oats has been using a combination of Willie Conner and CJ Massinburg to shut down the opposing team's leading scorer. This time around things were done differently as Skeete was the guy to hold off Ball State's star player. Weber averaged 14 points per game coming into this one, but thanks to Jarryn Skeete's sound and aggressive defense from the perimeter he only managed to put up three tonight. If we can use Skeete to completely lock down a top guard, then having Willie and CJ for somebody else good spell a lot of trouble for other teams in remaining MAC play.
3. CJ has lost his scoring touch
It's not a huge deal considering he's a freshman and has plenty of time to get better. The problem here is that CJ has looked completely different since conference play has started. His clutch three pointers have disappeared and his shooting is starting to look a little more forced. It would be great if CJ got back into that non-conference rhythm.
Player of the Game- Lamonte Bearden
Hands down, this one goes to Lamonte. He looked sluggish and like a shell of his usual self at WMU, but this time it was different. Six assists coming from one player is a lot for this team and playing like that almost ensures that we're going to win.