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Cardinal Hoops Crack the Century Mark in Home Opening W

BSULogoYes, I know it’s still the fall (technically) and normally this time of year, a BSU sports fan’s limited attention span is still focused on pigskin, but in case you were unaware, the Ball State men’s basketball team under second-year head coach James Whitford is two games deep in their 2014-2015 campaign.

While the season-opener at #25 Utah didn’t turn out the way friends of the feather would have liked for it to with a 90-72 loss, the dozens of BSU fans who were able to watch on the Mountain West network said the Cardinals looked like a team exceptionally capable of making some significant noise in the MAC this year. I think most who follow the Hoop Cards and have ever interacted with Coach Whitford would tell you that the Cardinals being a force is a matter of “when”, not “if”. If Monday’s result was any indication, that “when” may very well be sooner rather than later, as IU Kokomo learned the hard way that one does not simply walk in to Worthen Arena and walk out with a win. Or even a loss closer than 39 points.

To the BSU release…

MUNCIE, Ind. — Freshman guard Jeremie Tyler scored 23 points Monday night to lead the Ball State men’s basketball team to a 101-62 win over IU Kokomo in its home opener at Worthen Arena.

The Cardinals (1-1) moved the ball well and shot it well on a night when they topped 100 points in a game for the first time in 10 years. The team handed out 26 assists on 38 baskets and shot better than 62 percent from the floor against the Cougars (1-4).

“I was pleased with our team,” Ball State head coach James Whitford said. “I thought we came out of the gates right, though we didn’t really defend well the first eight minutes … When the ball is really moving, we can score. We have guys who can make shots, we can play fast, and we have some perimeter guys who are really versatile.”

Tyler was playing against his brother, IU Kokomo junior guard Jerome Campbell. He became the second freshman to score more than 20 points for Ball State already this season.

Sean Sellers scored 26 points three nights ago at Utah, marking the best freshman scoring debut in program history. He went for 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting Monday night and matched Zavier Turner for team-high honors with six assists, all in the first half.

The Cardinals were able to get out in transition, scoring 23 fastbreak points, including three dunks from Tyler. They also did damage from beyond the arc, reaching double-digits in 3-pointers made for the second straight game with 11.

“We have a skilled team, so when they turned the ball over or missed shots, we were able to take advantage,” Whitford said. “We’re not going to be able to get that many fastbreak points against everybody, but we always want to get a few. We’re a team that can really score in transition, and that’s the way we play.”

Bo Calhoun scored a career-high 12 points, and Turner added 11. Matt Kamieniecki, Franko House and Mading Thok scored eight points each, while Kaleb Mallory had seven and Rocco Belcaster six to give the Cardinals nine players with at least six points.

Jared Lawrence scored 15 points and Micah Pier had 13 to lead IU Kokomo, an NAIA program.

Ball State reached the century mark for the first time since Dec. 8, 2004 against Anderson. The Cardinals topped 60 points in a half for the first time since February 1997 by racking up 62 in the first half.

After two games in four days to start the season, Ball State is now off until a Saturday contest at 1 p.m. against IUPUI at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis. The Cardinals will return home Monday, Nov. 24 to host Grambling State.

Yes, it was IU Kokomo and not Kansas or Michigan State. I do not care. You beat a team by almost 40 and drop a hunsky in the process and you’re doing something right. Frankly, I wouldn’t care if it was Northside Middle School that got their tails beat by 40, mostly because those kids are jerks and BSU needs something good to happen in a revenue sport this season.

As mentioned above, the Hoop Cards take on the Jaguars of IUPUI on Saturday in Indianapolis. The Jags come in with an 0-2 record and losses to Purdue and Indiana State. I would smarmily remark on their latter loss, but frankly, I’m not sure the statute of limitations has expired from the football upset yet. So, Cards at 1-1 with a very real chance to run off more than a few wins before their next loss. That starts on Saturday, so show them some love.


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