BGSU men’s basketball saw their first conference loss of the season in blowout fashion to Ball State 88-64 on Tuesday night from the Stroh Center.
The loss moves BGSU to 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the MAC on the season. Ball State is now 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the MAC on the season.
The Falcons played on their heels for much of the first half as they held a lead shortly at the under 12 media timeout, but trailed for the rest of the half after that point.
Senior guard Ishmael El-Amin was the driving force in the Falcons playing catchup as he had 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field and 3 of 6 shooting from beyond the arc for Ball State. Redshirt senior forward Brachen Hazen also proved to be difficult on the inside for the Cardinals as he added 10 points and four rebounds.
The good play from the Cardinals led to a 12-point lead for them with 5:57 left in the first half, and up to that point Justin Turner hadn’t been able to generate much scoring for the Falcons.
He had just two points and three assists at that point. But being down, Turner started to implement his will on the game as he would end the half leading the Falcons with 10 points and four assists. Jacob Washington was also solid for the Falcons off the bench adding nine points on 4 of 5 shooting.
The 10 points in the first half were enough to put Turner at No. 3 on the all-time BGSU scoring list.
The Falcons would cut the lead to just two with about 2 minutes left in the first half, but a few key shots from both El-Amin and Hazen would push the Cardinals lead back up to 43-36 going into halftime.
The comeback would not continue into the second half as back-to-back turnovers by Bowling Green combined with good shooting by Ball State pushed the Cardinals lead to 51-38 with just over 18 minutes left to play in the game.
It continued to get worse from here as Ball State pushed their lead in the half to 18 as Teemu Suokas hit threes on back to back possessions. Suokas ended with 11 points on the night and was one of five players to hit double-digits for the Cardinals.
Overall on the night, Ball State just shot the ball better than BGSU, holding a 55% to 39% advantage from the field and a 46% to 21% advantage from three.
“We didn’t hit some shots. We had some open ones that we normally make. We missed a lot of opportunities on offense and they put on a clinic offensively, they had an answer it seemed like for every defensive scheme and everything we did so hats off to them,” Turner said.
BGSU flirted with a comeback cutting the lead to 12 at the under 12 media timeout, but again, the Cardinals responded by eventually pushing the lead to 24, where it stayed until the final buzzer.
It was just a bad night for the Falcons through and through and head coach Michael Huger knows it.
“It was all a sign. The free throws, the communication on defense, the communication on offense, the sharing of the ball, the rebounding, everything was off tonight. When you don’t come with that intensity and ready to play, this is the result,” Huger said.
El-Amin led all scorers in the game with 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the field and 5 of 11 shooting from three. Hazen, as well as redshirt fifth year K.J. Walton, added 14 as well.
For BGSU, it was Turner leading the way with 18 points, five assists and three steals. No one else was able to crack double digits for the Falcons.
Next up for the Falcons will be an away showdown on Friday with Buffalo, who are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the MAC. The game will be televised nationally at 7 p.m. CBS Sports Network.