Ball State Men down Indiana State Men in Bankers Life

Cardinals Win Third Straight over Rival Indiana State, 69-55

BSU again picks up offense in second half to pull away from Sycamores


INDIANAPOLIS — James Whitford called Tahjai Teague the best player on the floor Sunday. He credited Teague’s smarts and Kyle Mallers’ ability to switch screens as catalysts for a quality defensive performance.

Photo by:  Brett Crabtree/Excel Sports Publications

But he also wanted to make one thing crystal clear; this was a complete team victory.

Photo by:  Brett Crabtree/Excel Sports Publications

The Cardinals (3-1) pulled away in the second half for a 69-55 win over Indiana State at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and their third straight win in the series.


“Watching (Indiana State) on film, they’re a good team, and I don’t have any question they’re going to have a good year,” Whitford said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well (in the first half) … but we defended our tail off, we rebounded the ball really well … I thought we played two really good halves.”


Teague went for 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, as the Pike High School product made 10 of his 13 shot attempts in front of a hometown crowd.


It continued an impressive trend for the fifth-year senior against Indiana State (0-3). Over the past three meetings with the Sycamores, including Sunday’s game, Teague is averaging nearly 19 points on a combined 25-for-32 (78 percent) shooting.


Like BSU’s win four days earlier at UIC, Teague’s ability to score inside carried Ball State offensively until the team’s outside shooting came around. And like it has in every game so far this year, that happened right after halftime.


Ishmael El-Amin and Mallers hit 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 spurt that turned a 27-26 halftime advantage into a nine-point lead. After making 1-of-12 from deep in the first half, the Cardinals hit 5-of-11 after the break. A Luke Bumbalough 3 with 12:50 left made it a 12-point lead, and Ball State controlled things the rest of the way.

Photo by:  Brett Crabtree/Excel Sports Publications


“We stuck with our gameplan,” El-Amin said. “Tahjai made some great plays with the ball. Josh (Thompson) made some great plays with the ball, driving. In the first half, we had the same shots; we just missed. In the second half, we were able to deliver.”

Photo by:  Brett Crabtree/Excel Sports Publications

K.J. Walton nearly joined Teague in the double-double category with 16 points and nine rebounds. His performance helped key Ball State’s 41-28 dominance on the glass.


Walton consistently got to the foul line where he was 8-for-8. The Cardinals were 17-for-24 at the stripe as a team, while Indiana State attempted only 13 foul shots.

Photo by:  Brett Crabtree/Excel Sports Publications

El-Amin added 11 points, while Mallers had nine and Bumbalough seven. Jordan Barnes (12) and Tyreke Key (11) led the way for Indiana State. Key was the top scorer in the Missouri Valley Conference last year.

Photo by:  Brett Crabtree/Excel Sports Publications

Sunday’s game was just the third neutral site matchup of the 134 played in the history of the Ball State-Indiana State series. The Cardinals also won in 1975 at the old Market Square Arena.


Ball State will now return home for five games in a row, starting Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tipoff against 2019 NCAA Tournament team Northern Kentucky. The game will air on ESPN+

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