(Muncie, Ind.) The Holy Cross Saints men's basketball team concluded their last exhibition game of the 2012-2013 season with a matchup against NCAA Division 1, and Mid American Conference (MAC), member Ball State University on Wednesday evening. After trailing by 14 at the end of the first half, the Saints cut the deficit to 10 early in the second before Ball State regained control of the game. The Saints fell to the Cardinals 76-57.
Playing in front of the largest crowd they've seen all season, estimated at 2,851, the Saints hung with NCAA Division I program Ball State University throughout the first ten minutes of the first half only trailing 21-15 after a three-point shot by sophomore guard Zoe Bauer (Culver, Ind.).
The Cardinals increased their lead to 15 late in the half and went into the break with a 36-22 advantage over the Saints.
A quick start by the Saints in the second half Saints forward Brandon Evans (Grand Rapids, Mich.) cut the Cardinals lead to ten. The Cardinals, however, used a 7-0 run to extend their lead t0 17 points which proved to be a challenge for the Holy Cross to counter.
Zoe Bauer hit a three-point basket from just inside half-court as the shot clock expired that brought the Saints within 14, but that was the last time the Saints would get within 15 points the remainder of the game.
Ball State demonstrated a dominant inside presence and the ability to turn the 18 Saints turnovers into points. The Cardinals scored 18 points off Saints turnovers and held the advantage in points in the paint at 36-18. Ball State big man, Majok Majok, turned in an impressive performance with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
The Saints fell to the Cardinals 76-57.
"I thought the guys played incredibly hard out there tonight," said head coach Bob Schermerhorn. "They worked extremely hard out there to battle against Division I players and I thought we had a number of good moments. I'm very pleased with our effort on both ends of the floor."
Coach Schermerhorn hopes to see the toughness his team played with be used down the stretch as the Saints resume conference play this weekend.
"The guys played very tough in a tough environment tonight," continued coach Schermerhorn. "If there's one thing I hope they take away from this experience, it's to keep battling for all 40 minutes. They did a great job of that tonight and I think if they continue to play hard, good things will happen. This was a great experience for us coming out here and I thought we handled it well."
The Saints, 5-5 (3-4 CCAC), were led by Yama Kader (Mission Viejo, Cali.) who finished the game with a team high 18 points. Brandon Evans recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Zoe Bauer chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
Holy Cross will resume Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play at McKenna Arena this Saturday, December 8th against Judson University. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.