Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana had a case of the runs against Ball State.
The Hoosiers' had a 12-0 run to close the first half and break a 22-22 tie, then put together a 14-0 flurry early in the second half to blow open the game and cruised to a 71-57 win over the Cardinals.
Indiana, which opens the Big Ten slate Tuesday at Ohio State, improved to 9-3 and closed the non-conference schedule on a four-game winning streak, while Ball State slipped to 4-9.
The win may have come with a cost. IU junior guard A.J. Ratliff left the game with a left wrist injury two minutes into the second half. X-rays were negative, and Ratliff is listed as a game-time decision for Tuesday's game.
The Hoosier spurts helped offset a sluggish start. Ball State jumped to a 13-8 lead seven minutes into the game, out-rebounded Indiana early, and went back-and-forth for most of the first half. But with the game tied 22-22 at the 6:52 mark, the Cardinals missed its final eight shots of the half and committed six turnovers.
"We hit a lull right before the end of the half," Ball State Coach Ronny Thompson said. "I thought we took some crazy shots. At times, during that stretch (Indiana) out-worked us to some balls."
While Ball State struggled, Indiana hit its stride. Earl Calloway hit a 3-pointer to give IU the lead, and Armon Bassett hit another to push the lead to six. Rod Wilmont added a pair of lay-ups and Calloway scored one of his own to close the half up 12, 34-22.
Indiana's late first half surge was aided by the fact Sampson's team stopped settling for 3-pointers. Nine of IU's first 15 shots were from behind the 3-point arc, and 14 of IU's 31 first-half shots were from deep. But Sampson sent a message that he wanted his team to start looking to D.J. White inside and also attacking off the dribble.
"I threatened to choke them if they shot another 3 pointer," joked Sampson. "You notice, we didn't shoot any for a while.
"At some point you have to balance (the 3-pointers) out. When your radiator overflows, you need some water. Sometimes Rod (Wilmont) needs to know the radiator is overflowing – throw it inside."
That strategy worked late in the half and for the second half as well. White got going, scoring 12 of his game-high 16 points in the second half. Six of those points came during IU's 14-0 second half run that turned a 39-28 lead into a 53-28 margin with 12:23 left.
White was one of two Hoosiers in double figures, as Wilmont added 12 and seven rebounds. Armon Bassett and Joey Shaw also added nine points off the bench.
"Once we figured out what to do…I think we went up by about 25," Sampson said. "We did a lot of good things during that period."
Ball State also presented some unique challenges because of an unorthodox lineup. The Cardinals went with a starting five that featured five players who were 6-5 or under. They tried to offset IU's size advantage by sagging off the Hoosier shooters and surrounding White whenever he touched the ball in the paint.
Despite the size discrepancy, Ball State still managed to out-rebound Indiana 38-35, including 11 from Anthony Newell, who also led the Cardinals with 16 points.
"They weren't doing anything tricky, (but) D.J. had to guard a guard, Lance (Stemler) had to guard a guard," Sampson said. "Even against IUPUI, Duke, Kentucky, then had bigs…this team had five (shooting guards)."
D. White 7-10 2-2 16, Stemler 2-3 0-0 6, Wilmont 4-11 3-5 12, Ratliff 3-7 1-1 8, Calloway 3-8 0-0 8, Bassett 3-8 2-2 9, Suhr 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 0-2 0-1 0, M. White 0-0 1-2 1, Shaw 2-5 5-6 9, Keeling 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 25-58 14-20 71.
BALL STATE 57
Mills 5-11 5-9 15, Newell 6-14 4-6 16, Horton 1-6 0-0 2, Stovall 6-7 0-0 15, Ames 4-7 0-0 8, Lampley 0-0 0-0 0, Peyton 0-8 1-4 1, Perryman 0-2 0-0 0, Redden 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 10-19 57.
3-Pointers: Indiana 7-20 (Stemler 2-3, Calloway 2-3, Bassett 1-3, Wilmont 1-4, Ratliff 1-4, Suhr 0-2, Shaw 0-1), Ball State 3-7 (Stovall 3-4, Mills 0-1, Newell 0-1, Peyton 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 35 (Wilmont 7), Ball State 38 (Newell 11). Assists: Indiana 16 (Calloway 4), Ball State 10 (Horton 4). Turnovers: Indiana 8 (Calloway 3), Ball State 13 (Newell 3). Blocks: Indiana 8 (White 3), Ball State 0. Steals: Indiana 5 (Calloway 2, Bassett 2), Ball State 5 (Mills, Newell, Stovall, Ames, Redden). Halftime Score: Indiana 34, Ball State 22. Officials: Sid Rodeheffer, Tom Clark, Lamont Simpson. Attendance: 15,553.
Hoosiers Roll 71-57 in Final Big Ten Tune-Up
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