MUNCIE, Ind. - Down by 12 points with a 2:13 left, the Ball State men's basketball team rallied within three points twice, but fell short in its comeback attempt in a 59-53 loss to Mid-American Conference East Division rival Miami Saturday afternoon at Worthen Arena.
Despite the setback, the Cardinals (12-9 / 4-5 MAC) received an impressive performance from freshman forward Aaron Adeoye (Marion, Ill./Marion) who led all players with a career-high 11 rebounds and helped inspire BSU in the second half. Adeoye also chipped in a career-high eight points in a career-long 26 minutes of play.
Sophomore guard Tyrae Robinson (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) led the Cardinals with 14 points, including a layup which brought BSU within three points (56-53) with 11 seconds left in the game.
"Clearly I was disappointed in our effort in the first half," head coach Billy Taylor said. "Our guys really battled hard in the second half and we were trying to search for a combination that would give us energy, pound the glass and get after on the defensive end. I thought we got that effort in the second half as we scored in the paint and had a presence on the glass."
Miami's (7-14 / 3-6 MAC) Brian Sullivan led all players with 18 points, including a 4-of-6 effort from long range. Quinten Rollins chipped in 14 points, while Julian Mavunga recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite forcing the RedHawks into 19 turnovers, the Cardinals offense could not capitalize and finished the game shooting 33.3 percent (20-of-60) from the floor, including a 14.3 (3-of-21) mark from long range.
Miami's offense connected for a 54.1 (20-of-37) rate of success, including a 50.0 (9-of-18) effort from behind the arc. BSU committed just five turnovers in the game.
Ball State scored two early baskets to take a quick 4-2 lead but Miami answered back with seven straight points. The Cardinals slowed the run as Robinson hit a three-pointer while junior Jauwan Scaife (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) hit two free throws.
Miami answered back with a 9-2 run to take a 20-13 lead and force the Cardinals into a timeout. After three straight points for the Cardinals, Miami closed the half on a 14-2 run to take a 34-18 lead into the locker room.
Ball State hit just 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from the field and just 14.3 percent (1-of-7) from three-point land in the half. Miami on the other hand connected on 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from the field and 50 percent (6-of-12) from three-point land. Brian Sullivan and Quinten Rollins led the RedHawks with nine points apiece in the opening frame.
Miami extended its lead to a game-high 18 points early in the second half before the Cardinals responded with an 11-2 run as they received inspired play from the bench. Junior center Zach Fields (North Vernon, Ind./Jennings County) started the run as he scored in the paint while freshman guard Zeke Chapman (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) capped the stretch with a deep three-pointer to make it a 39-30 game with 12:55 left.
Miami answered back with a 7-2 run, including a free throw off a BSU technical foul on the bench. Ball State came right back with seven straight points to make it a 46-39 game as Adeoye scored on an offensive rebound and Robinson added a basket in transition. The RedHawks hit a big three-pointer on the ensuing possession as Sullivan nailed a long range shot as the shot clock expired to extend the deficit back to double figures.
Ball State had one final push in the final two minutes as it ran off nine straight points to make it a 54-51 game with 24.4 seconds left. Senior forward Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) nailed a three-pointer in the run and Robinson hit a pair of free throws to make it a one possession game. Miami was able to seal the victory though as it hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final 24.4 seconds.
Jones finished the game with eight points and seven rebounds as he was just 3-of-12 from the field. Scaife added seven points off the bench as the Cardinals received 28 points from their reserves in the loss.
Ball State returns to action Wednesday evening as it hosts Bowling Green in MAC play. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Worthen Arena and will be broadcast online by BSU Sports Link.