Butler tops Ball State 59-58
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Elijah Brown scored nine points in a 16-2 run and Khyle Marshall finished with 14 points to help Butler rally for a 59-58 victory at Ball State.
It was an uncharacteristic game for the Bulldogs (4-0). In the first half, they shot 30 percent from the field and had nearly twice as many turnovers (seven) as assists (four). Their problems continued early into the second half as the Cardinals (2-2) took an 11-point lead with 13:48 to play.
But Brown, a freshman, righted things. He made the first two baskets in the comeback, then assisted on an alley-oop dunk to Marshall that cut the deficit to three. Alex Barlow tied it with a 3-pointer and Brown’s 3 with 9:10 to go gave Butler a 45-44 lead that it never relinquished. Brown finished with 13 points.
Ball State was led by Majok Majok, with a season-high 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Butler has now won two straight and 12 of the last 14 in this 105-game series.
But it wasn’t easy and it sure wasn’t pretty for the Bulldogs, which finished with its lowest point total of the season (70 previous vs. Princeton). At one point during the first half they missed 10 consecutive shots and went 6:25 without a point and 7:33 without a basket.
The drought would have cost them — if not for a much better all-around effort in the second half.
Ball State took its first lead at 20-18 when freshman Zavier Turner made two free throws and the Cardinals scored the last eight points of the first half to take a 30-23 lead.
They didn’t stop there, using an 8-2 run to make it 42-31 with 13:48 left in the game.
That’s when Brown delivered. He made two of three free throws after drawing a foul, then scored on a dunk following a Ball State turnover. After Barlow came up with a steal and a layup, Brown threw the pass to Marshall to make it 42-39. And after giving the Bulldogs a 45-44 lead with a 3-pointer, Brown drove in for another layup to make it 47-44.
Ball State hung around, finally cutting the deficit to 59-58 when Mark Alstork made is only basket of the game — a 3 with 1:17 to play.
The Cardinals had a chance to win it when Brown missed two free throws with 12.2 seconds left, but Turner missed a layup and Majok a tip in the closing seconds. Kameron Woods then grabbed the rebound as time ran out.
Chris Bond had 14 points for the Cardinals.