Men’s basketball falls to Ball State at home

Sofia Turek, Men's Basketball Reporter

The Eastern men’s basketball team could not keep up the pace as they fell short in the second half against Ball State 76-59 at home Wednesday night. 

The Panthers started the first half with a five-point lead and kept the game close throughout but after a few free throws and a 3-pointer, they were down nine. This was the turning point as the Cardinals had the lead for almost 31 minutes.  

They were only down seven in the half, but in the next half, the Cardinals dominated time of possession and scored 40 while the Panthers scored 30. 

Junior center Nick Ellington led the Panthers with six free throws, five rebounds, three steals, and 12 points. He didn’t play much in the first half but came alive during the second half. 

Only four minutes into the second half, Ellington was pushed down by Mickey Pearson of the Cardinals and had some words with him. 

After the brief interaction, he walked to the bench where his coach Marty Simmons and his teammates stood up, clapped, and patted him on the back. 

“Every day things get you down, you get knocked down, but you always got your brothers right behind you,” Ellington said. “They’re just picking you up, giving you anything.” 

While this did not get the team back in the game in the number column, there was a sense of showing off their skills. Ellington got the ball after the incident and almost dunked.  

Graduate student guard Yaakema Rose scored a turnaround layup and a one-handed 3-pointer. Despite these being the only points he scored all game, it made the crowd fired up. 

Despite their effort, it was still not enough to gain an advantage over the Cardinals as they scored three consecutive 3-pointers in the late stages of the half. “I think what we really got in trouble is they forced us into a mismatch,” Simmons said. “We gave up smoking threes during that stretch.” 

Other than the 3-pointer cushion, the Panthers fell off their field goal percentage which went from 52 percent in the first to 34 percent in the second. Also, overall, they only scored once on a 3-pointer out of 11 attempts. 

With this loss, the Panthers now have a record of 2-8, but both the players and the coaches learned what to work on for the next game. 

“We panicked a little bit trying to go one-on-one, took some shots that weren’t very good shots in the shot clock and against good teams,” Simmons said. “Sometimes you use your offense as part of your defense. That’s an area we got to build on.” 

Ellington reacted similarly and believes that the record should not make them stop playing and working hard.  

“We just got to trust what we do. Ellington said. “Keep working on what we’re working in practice, keep trying to come together, and trying to put this thing together and make it work.” 

The Panthers will play their next game which is at home where they take on Western Illinois on Saturday Evening. 

 Sofia Turek can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]