A second-half surge wasn’t enough for the men’s basketball team Wednesday night as it lost its 10th-straight game at Ball State 95-90.
Trailing the Cardinals by 15 with 15:13 left in the game the Chippewas had just enough pull within two with 10 seconds left on the clock after freshman forward John Simons split a pair of free-throws.
But, it wasn’t enough as BSU was able to hold them off by shooting 78.8 percent from the free-throw line.
“They were so close and you get frustrated as fan or a coach or player when it’s a one possession game,” said head coach Keno Davis. “You think about the miss layups, you think about the lack of communication, the miss checkout opportunities, the missed free-throws, you think about all of those in a one possession game and you can’t get too down.”
One player they couldn’t keep down was senior guard Jauwan Scaife who scored 34 points. They also couldn’t keep him from getting to the line as he made 13 trips and finished 12 of them.
CMU wasn’t able to match and you don’t have to look further than senior guard Kyle Randall’s statistics from the free-throw line to know how the night went from there.
Randall took six free-throw attempts and connected on three.
“You have to give the credit to (Jauwan) Scaife,” Davis said. “It’s not that they shot better; it’s that Scaife got to the line. You can’t complain about Kyle Randall’s play he’s been there for us all year, but he only gets there six times and goes three-for-six. In a one possession game their guy got there 13 times and ours got there six.”
Randall did his job from the field however, tying a team-high 18 points.
But that paled in comparison to freshman guard Chris Fowler’s night. He also scored 18 points, but added in a season-high 13 assists, for his first double-double of his young career.
“I think in the last two or three games a light went on for Chris,” Davis said. “He can go by people, a lot of the time he’d stay on the perimeter and dribble a few times then kick the ball out. Now, he’s getting all the way to the basket. 13 assists is a big a number, he has the freshman all-time assist record and that was awhile back, now he gets 13 assists, he’s putting that record out there.”
It wasn’t just Fowler and Randall scoring.
Five players scored in double-figures including freshmen forwards Blake Hibbitts (16) and John Simons (13).
Sophomore guard Austin Keel contributed with 13 points off the bench while shooting three-for-six from three-point range, contributing to the team’s 51.9 percent from three and 52.5 from the field.
“We haven’t given up on Austin Keel,” Davis said. “We continue to see him practice well … so it’s nice to see him knock down a few shots tonight.”
The only problem, the Cardinals shot better.
They shot 55 percent from three and 55.8 percent from the field.
“We shot really well from three, just didn’t hold them down from three,” Davis said. “I thought, coming into the season, we’d have nights where we’d shoot really well for the night, or not very well and we haven’t had many of those good nights.”
The team will not be returning to Mount Pleasant because the next game is at 8 p.m. Saturday at Northern Illinois.