Men’s basketball splits home games

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SLU men’s basketball’s season opener turned sour on Friday, Nov. 11, as visitors Ball State blew SLU out. The final score of 85-64 in favor of the Cardinals over the Billikens told the entire story, as the Cardinals jumped out to an early lead in the first half that they never relinquished the rest of the way.

Despite the loss, excitement for head coach Travis Ford’s first season in charge of the Billikens brought many fans, young, old and everywhere in between, out to Chaifetz Arena.

Ball State opened up a very early lead behind some hot shooting, as the Cardinals hit their first four 3-pointers. The 3-pointers launched them into a 20-6 lead in short order to start the game.

Redshirt freshman forward Elliot Welmer, who made his first career start against the Ball State Cardinals, answered that run with a 3-pointer of his own to cut the lead to only 11.

The scoring then went back-and-forth for a while, but the Cardinals went on a 10-0 run with four minutes left in the first half to increase their lead. Freshman forward Jalen Johnson stopped that rally with a 3-pointer, the first points of his career, but Ball State responded with two back-to-back 3-pointers to increase their lead to a staggering 25 points.

After a few more buckets either way, senior guard Mike Crawford finished the first half with a layup just as the horn sounded for the first half, meaning that Ball State was able to take a decisive lead into the halftime break. They led by 24 points at halftime, by a score of 43-19.

The second half went better for the Saint Louis Billikens. SLU outscored Ball State by a score of 45-42, which was especially surprising considering their poor showing in the first half. However, as the second-half score hinted at, SLU was never able to truly catch up to Ball State. The Cardinals maintained a gap of at least 20 points for the remainder of the contest after halftime.

That 20-point deficit, the closest that Saint Louis got to Ball State in the second half, happened when the Billikens went on a 7-0 run behind layups from junior guard Davell Roby and senior forward Reggie Agbeko. Their layups, in addition to freshman guard Zeke Moore’s 3-pointer, contributed to the run.