Men's Basketball Falls at Central Michigan, 71-57
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- The Ball State men's basketball team saw an early second-half lead dissipate Saturday night in a 71-57 Mid-American Conference West Division road loss at Central Michigan.
Majok Majok posted his third straight double-double and seventh of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Jauwan Scaife added 13 points. Jesse Berry and Zach Fields each scored nine for Ball State, all in the first half.
But turnovers on one end of the floor and Central Michigan offensive rebounds on the other end hurt the Cardinals in the second half.
Ball State dropped to 7-9 (1-3 MAC) with the loss, while Central Michigan improved to 9-8 (2-2 MAC). The Cardinals, which opened with three of their first four league games on the road, now return home for six of their next nine MAC games, starting Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tipoff against Buffalo at Worthen Arena.
Fields sparked the Cardinals in the first half Saturday after coming off the bench for the first time this season. The senior center earned strong post position and made good on all four of his field goal attempts before halftime.
Berry knocked down three first-half 3-pointers, including two on back-to-back possessions late in the half, and helped the Cardinals go on a run to take a 37-35 lead into the break.
Ball State quickly expanded that lead to 41-35 less than two minutes into the second half, but the next sequence of plays characterized its second-half struggles.
The Cardinals had a chance to extend that lead further but instead turned the ball over, leading to a foul that sent Central Michigan's Kyle Randall to the free throw line. Randall hit the first but missed the second, and Olivier Mbaigoto grabbed the offensive rebound and scored.
That sequence sparked a 13-2 run that gave Central Michigan the lead for good. Ball State went on to turn the ball over 12 times in the second half after recording just five turnovers in the first half, and the Cardinals allowed nine second-half offensive rebounds (16 for the game).
Ball State also managed 16 offensive boards but could only turn them into six second-chance points compared to 17 for Central Michigan. The Chippewas out-scored the Cardinals in the paint, 40-28.
Central Michigan gradually stretched its lead for the rest of the second half and pushed it to double-digits for the first time at 64-54 with just over two minutes to play, forcing the Cardinals to fire up 3-pointers late to try to close the gap.
Randall led the Chippewas with 16 points. He and backcourt mate Chris Fowler, who had a game-high six assists, found success driving the ball into the paint to create shots at the rim. Mbaigoto and Blake Hibbits add 12 points each for CMU.