ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ball State men’s basketball team suffered a 71-51 loss Wednesday night at Ohio as the Cardinals continued a challenging stretch to open Mid-American Conference play.
It was a night when shots refused to fall for Ball State, which connected on 32.6 percent (15 of 46) from the floor and a season-low 16.7 percent (3 for 18) from beyond the arc.
Despite the poor shooting, Ball State (3-11, 0-3 MAC) managed to stay with striking distance at the half because of its defensive effort. But Ohio (12-4, 2-1 MAC) eventually got it going, stretching its six-point halftime edge to as many as 22 in the second half.
“I thought our guys played hard, but we just had one of the worst shooting nights a team could have,” Ball State head coach James Whitford said. “We got good looks, but we were not able to knock them down.
“We still defended really well in the first half, but eventually the frustration got to us and they broke it open. Because of all our missed shots and turnovers, they were really able to get going in transition and score too easily.”
Maurice Ndour led Ohio with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half, while T.J. Hall scored 13 and Travis Wilkins added 10. Ndour and Nick Kellogg, who average 30 points per game between them, combined for just four in the first half. Kellogg finished the game with five.
Ndour scored five of Ohio’s first seven points after the break as the Bobcats pushed their lead to double digits, where it remained the rest of the game. Ohio knocked down better than 48 percent of its shots in the second half, including 5 of 10 from 3-point range.
After committing nine turnovers in the first half, Ohio made just three in the second. For the game, the Bobcats scored 19 points off Ball State’s 21 turnovers.
The Cardinals battled through foul problems for much of the second half. Franko House and Tyler Koch both had four fouls less than two minutes after halftime, and Majok and Bo Calhoun each had to sit parts of the second half with four fouls, as well.
Calhoun scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in 17 minutes of action. House and Mark Alstork also scored six with all of Alstork’s coming at the foul line.
Ball State, whose three MAC losses have come against Akron, Kent State and Ohio, will now return home to host Miami University on Saturday at Worthen Arena. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. with the game to be televised by the Ball State Sports Network.