Muncie, IN – IUPUI had three days off to mull over or move past their loss to Western Illinois. Whatever they did, it didn’t work. The script repeated itself as IUPUI struggled to score early and never could contain Ball State’s offense. The Cardinals had the lead for good by the 13-minute mark in the first half and led by double figures for the final 28 minutes en route to their 83-64 win.
Once again the bulk of the starters struggled for IUPUI, although T.J. Henderson came off the bench in this one. Aaron Brennan, Evan Hall and D.J. McCall combined to shoot 5-for-21 for 11 points. McCall had a career high in shots (20) and points (21) a game ago, but went scoreless in this one. Henderson and Ron Patterson each shot well off the bench scoring 11 and 14 points respectively.
The Jaguars kept pace in the second half but were undone by a horrendous first half in what’s becoming a season trend. They shot just 29 percent for the half and the starters combined for six points on 3-for-16 shooting (19 percent). IUPUI has now been outscored by 21 points on average in the first half the last two games and by 12 points on average in their four road games. They’ve also scored more than 24 points in the first half on the road just once.
With a 0-4 road record so far, IUPUI gets a welcome home game this Wednesday against Southern Illinois Edwardsville. Unfortunately, it’s right back on the road for a daunting road trip. The Jaguars will face Purdue, Washington State and Gonzaga in succession before one more home game and then another three-game road trip.
IUPUI has placed a concerted effort on scheduling tough non-conference opponents to increase competition and hopefully earn some big wins. They also made the switch from the Summit League to the Horizon League in hopes of following a similar path as Butler to becoming a household name in college basketball. Unfortunately, for a program that isn’t there yet this means a tough road ahead. The Jaguars haven’t been able to prove themselves on the road under Jason Gardner so far, and this increase in opposing competition will only make things tougher.