SALT LAKE CITY -- Five Ball State players scored in double figures Wednesday night, but the Cardinals fell to Utah, 88-69, in men's basketball action at the Huntsman Center.
Zavier Turned led Ball State (2-3) with 15 points, all in the second half, while Majok Majok recorded his third straight double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.
Utah (6-0), an athletic Pac-12 team with a size advantage, was able to get the ball to the rim, scoring 62 of its points either in the paint or at the free throw line. The Utes shot 56 percent for the game and 67 percent in the second half to hold off a Ball State rally.
“I was proud of our fight for a while,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “We didn’t defend well tonight. Offensively, we made a great run in the second half and we started pushing the ball. But we made too many mistakes to win against a good team on the road.”
Delon Wright led Utah with 23 points, while Brandon Taylor added 17. Princeton Onwas scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Utes.
Jesse Berry finished with 13 points for Ball State, while Mark Alstork and Franko House added 10 each. It was the first time the Cardinals put five scorers in double figures since last year’s season opener against Grambling State.
Despite trailing by 15 points in the first half and again early in the second, Ball State hung around. The Cardinals trimmed the lead to 56-50 on a Tyler Koch 3-pointer with 11:23 to play and were still within single digits as late as the 8-minute mark.
But Utah was there to answer every Ball State run. The Utes were able to gradually build on their lead to close the game out down the stretch. In addition to a 44-24 advantage in the paint, Utah also turned 15 Ball State turnovers into 18 points.
The Cardinals shot better than 50 percent for much of the second half until tailing off down the stretch. They shot 38.6 percent for the game.
Ball State freshmen combined for 35 points on the night. It was the duo of Alstork and House who kept the Cardinals in it early by combining for 15 first-half points before Turner went for 15 in the second.
Ball State will now fly back East to continue its Thanksgiving week road trip with a Saturday game at Cleveland State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.