HIGHLIGHTS: Ball State 69, Valpo 66
Ball State looking for revenge
Last season, inside a newly designed Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Ball State and IUPUI played perhaps their most exhilarating game in the two program’s brief decade and a half history. With out a true point guard due to the suspension of Zavier Turner and foot injury of Jeremiah Davis, Ball State struggled protecting the basketball, turning it over 25 times.
Despite the offensive inefficiencies as a team, Sean Sellers poured in 22 points, enough to force overtime. In the extra session, Ball State was held without a field goal and ultimately fell by the score of 71-69 on a floater at the buzzer by IUPUI’s P.J. Boutte.
Cardinals riding high after win vs. Valparaiso
Coach Whitford brushed off the idea in-state wins have more significance than other non-conference wins, but don’t tell Ball State fans that. Nearly 3,000 fans packed into Worthen Arena on Saturday, despite students being on break for Thanksgiving, creating an electric atmosphere.
Ball State led Valparaiso for 36 of a possible 40 minutes in Saturday’s contest, leading by as many as 12 points. Due to the hot shooting of Valparaiso’s Alec Peters who finished with 28 points, the Crusaders were able to keep it close leading up to the final buzzer. A Keith Carter three point try at the buzzer fell short giving Ball State a narrow 69-66 victory.
At practice on Monday before Tuesday’s tilt with IUPUI Coach Whitford reflected back on Saturday’s win, “I thought we played with the right attack mentality down the stretch.”
Ball State is riding a four-game winning streak and has excelled closing out games. In that stretch they are 29-33 at the free throw line in the final 4:00 of games, including 5-6 vs. Valparaiso on Saturday.
Muncie Central Bearcats abound
Tonight will be a high school reunion of sorts. Ball State’s Jeremiah Davis and IUPUI’s Nick Osborne suited up for Muncie Central in their high school days and have been best friends since third grade. In 2010, Osborne was a sophomore and Davis was a junior, the two paired to lead The Bearcats to a sectional title over current Butler star Kellen Dunham’s Pendleton Heights squad. On the topic of Osborne, Davis told the Muncie Star Press this week, “I’m happy to see him back. On the court it’s business, but off the court, it’s all love.”