MUNCIE, Ind. -- Miami University handed the Ball State men’s basketball team a 64-52 loss Saturday in Mid-American Conference men’s basketball action at Worthen Arena.
Zavier Turner scored a career-high 24 points, but the Cardinals struggled against Miami’s full-court press and trapping defense. Ball State (3-12, 0-4 MAC) turned the ball over 22 times, leading directly to 28 points for the RedHawks (6-9, 2-2 MAC).
Chris Bond scored 14 points to give Ball State two in double figures, while Majok Majok added eight and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Will Felder led Miami with 19 points, followed by Jaryd Eustace with 13 and Willie Moore with 12.
“This was a hard game for us, and we knew it would be,” Ball State head coach James Whitford said. “Handling pressure has been a challenge for us from day one. To Miami’s credit, they’re a very good pressing team. I thought they played a very good game and their pressure really bothered us.”
Ball State had trouble from the outset, turning the ball over 14 times in the first half. The Cardinals also struggled when they found open shots, hitting just 26.3 percent over the first 20 minutes, and went into the break trailing 35-17.
Miami pushed its lead to as many as 26 points at 54-28 near the midway point of the second half before Ball State went on a run to close the gap. Walk-on guard Kindon Crowder sparked the Cardinals with 14 minutes off the bench, and Ball State outscored the RedHawks 22-8 down the stretch. A Quinten Payne 3-pointer in the last minute cut the final deficit to 12.
“We kept competing through the second half,” Whitford said. “I thought Kindon gave us some good energy, which was great to see. But the turnovers in the first half became overwhelming and the deficit became hard to overcome.”
Ball State finished the day shooting 33.3 percent from the floor, while Miami connected on 51.9 percent. Transition lay-ins and drives to the basket led to 42 points in the paint for the RedHawks.
Ball State struggled to get the ball inside against the defensive pressure and scored just 12 points in the paint. Majok managed only four field goal attempts.
When the Cardinals did break the pressure, Turner was able to find some open looks. The freshman point guard hit 4 of 7 attempts from 3-point range and also got to the free throw line where he made 10 of 12.
Ball State will be back in action Thursday, hosting Buffalo for an 8 p.m. tipoff at Worthen Arena. The game will air as part of the MAC television package on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel and ESPN3.