BY CONNOR ONION | BALL STATE SPORTS LINK
Ball State Hot From Deep
The rims inside Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis were kind to Ball State Friday night. Riding the wave of thirteen three’s, the Cardinals (1-0) dismantled St. Louis (0-1), 85-64.
The thirteen three’s were indicative of how Ball State shot from distance last year. In 2015-16, the Cardinals drilled 305 shots from downtown, five shy of a school record.
On Friday, for the first time since January of 2015, seven different Ball State players connected on a three.
Powered by the three ball, the Cardinals scored more than 80 points in the opener, a feat they accomplished only five times against Division 1 opponents last year.
The most unassuming assassin was senior power forward Franko House.
House had never hit more than two triples in a game until the bout with St. Louis. He collected two before the first media timeout and finished the night 4-for-4.
“Tonight wasn’t a magical game,” Ball State Head Coach James Whitford said of House. “It’s really a culmination of an incredible amount of work over a long period of time that led to him having a shooting night like that.”
If House – a second team All-MAC selection – continues to display an outside touch, Ball State could become an unstoppable force.
Oldest Rivalry in Program History
During the 1921-22 season, Ball State’s opponents included the defunct Indiana Dental School and Central Normal.
That same year, the Cardinals never scored more than 30 points in a game. That’s hard to imagine in the current era of the shot clock and fast break basketball.
xemplifying the slower pace of play and lack of a three-point line, Ball State was limited to 12 points in their first ever meeting with Indiana State.
Since, the rivalry has featured increased offense and blossomed into one of the most historic match ups in the state. Tuesday night marks the 131st meeting all-time between the two schools, the most of any opponent in Ball State history.
Indiana State owns the series lead 72-58 and has won four of the last five, including last year’s 73-61 win in Terre Haute.
The distaste for the opposing institution climaxed in the early stages between 1923 and 1950 when both schools we a part of Indiana Intercollegiate Conference. At the time, the conference featured every school in Indiana with the exception of Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame.
Ball State – now a part of the Mid-American Conference – and Indiana State – now a part of the Missouri Valley – have competed as non-conference opponents every year since 1950 with the exception of 2008.
25th Season of Worthen Arena
Worthen Arena opened on January 15th, 1992 as Ball State downed Miami (OH) 70-64. 25 years later, Worthen Arena is still kind to the Cardinals.
Ball State boasts a 248-113 record all-time inside the 11,500-seat arena.
Home openers have been particularly friendly to the Cardinals as they have won 15-straight and 22 of 24 since the arena’s inception.
The last loss came in 1998 in a rare November conference game against Kent State. The other was to Michigan in 1995, a year after Jimmy King and Ray Jackson – the final two members of the ‘Fab Five’– graduated.
“We’re real excited,” Whitford said of the home opener. “Everywhere I’ve gone I’ve heard basketball talk all over the city.”
If the steady improvements Whitford has made in his three years come to fruition, year 25 in Worthen Arena could extend excitement beyond the borders of Muncie.