MUNCIE, Ind. - Despite four players in double-figures, the Ball State men's basketball team saw its five-game Mid-American Conference winning streak come to an end with a 66-53 loss to visiting Kent State Thursday evening at Worthen Arena. The Cardinals fall to 13-6 (5-1 MAC) with the setback, while Kent State improves to 13-7 (4-2 MAC).
"Now that we are 5-0 we know we are going to get everyone's best punch," Taylor said. "It is a different position for us but it is one that this program wants to be in -- we want to get everyone's best punch. It is a matter of what you do when you get that punch from an opponent and I didn't think we handled it well tonight. They gave us a good shot and played with a lot of confidence like a championship team should do."
Senior forward Malik Perry (Philadelphia, Pa./Philadelphia Lutheran H.S.) and freshman forward Chris Bond (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) each scored 12 points for Ball State, while junior guard Randy Davis (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth H.S.) and sophomore guard Jauwan Scaife (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central H.S.) chipped in 10 apiece in the loss.
Ball State and Kent State came out of the gate slowly as neither team had a field goal at the first media timeout. The Cardinals got the first field goal of the game at the 15:46 mark as Davis hit a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to take an early 4-2 lead.
Kent State found its footing and posted an 11-4 run to take a 24-14 lead with 6:11 left to force Ball State into a timeout. The Golden Flashes took advantage of 10 BSU turnovers in the opening frame as they scored 15 points off the miscues to open a double digit advantage. Randal Holt keyed the run with nine first half points, including a couple baskets on the fast break.
Ball State slowed the momentum as Scaife hit a three-pointer to narrow the gap to 24-19. After a pair of KSU baskets, the Cardinals posted an 8-0 run to pull within one at 28-27 with 1:21 left in the half. Davis scored four straight points in the run while junior forward Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) and Perry scored on consecutive possessions.
The Golden Flashes scored the last basket of the first half off an offensive rebound to head into the locker room with a 30-27 lead. Kent State out-rebounded the Cardinals 19-14 in the first half and posted nine offensive rebounds with Justin Greene leading the way with four boards.
Ball State connected on 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from the field and 5-of-8 (62.5%) from the free throw line. Davis led the Cardinals with nine points and three assists while Scaife chipped in five points. Kent State finished the half shooting 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from the field and 22.2 percent (2-of-9) from long range. Holt led KSU with nine first half points while Rodriquez Sherman and Greene each chipped in six points.
The Cardinals came out of the break and pulled within one at 34-33 as Perry and Jones each connected on two free throws. Ball State had three possessions to take its first lead of the second half but committed a turnover and missed two field goals allowing Kent State to maintain its lead.
The Golden Flashes responded with a 10-2 run on their way to a 23-8 spurt that put the game away for good. Kent State hit five three-pointers during the run, including two from Holt and two from Sherman to take its largest lead of the night at 57-41.
Ball State finished the game shooting just 36.5 percent (19-of-52) from the field and hit just 3-of-9 (33.3%) from long range. The Cardinals also committed 17 turnovers and allowed 22 points against off those miscues.
Perry paced the Cardinals on the glass as he grabbed a game-high nine rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Davis finished with 10 points and seven assists while not committing a turnover in the loss for the Cardinals. Jones was limited to just five points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field.
Kent State was strong offensively in the second half as it hit 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the field in the second frame, including 5-of-10 (50%) from long range. Holt led the Golden Flashes with 21 points as he was 9-of-15 from the field while hitting three three-pointers. Sherman added 15 points while Greene finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Cardinals wrap up their three-game home stretch Saturday afternoon as they host reigning MAC Tournament champion Ohio. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at Worthen Arena.
Holt scores 21 points in Kent State's 66-53 win over Ball State
The Golden Flashes (13-7, 4-2 Mid-American) broke a 4-4 tie midway through the first half when Holt hit his first 3-pointer.
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