BALL STATE MBB: BSU Youngsters Get Plenty of Run in Lopsided Opening Win


MUNCIE, Ind. — James Whitford looked out on the Worthen Arena court with about 10 minutes left in Tuesday’s season opener and saw five freshmen on the floor for his Ball State team.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that,” Whitford said.

It was a night of debuts as the Cardinals unveiled a total of six new players, including three true freshmen and a pair of redshirts in an 87-43 win over Defiance.

Jarron Coleman played in last year’s exhibition game but then spent the rest of the season in a redshirt role, practicing each day but awaiting his chance under the lights. He took full advantage of his first real playing experience Tuesday, stuffing the state sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

True freshman Luke Bumbalough, an Indiana Mr. Basketball finalist last year, flashed his skill with a trio of 3-pointers and three assists without a turnover. Former Richmond Red Devil Lucas Kroft scored 6 points in 19 minutes in his college debut.

Meanwhile, the veterans led the way in the scoring column. Kyle Mallers paced a balanced attack with 12 points, while Tahjai Teague and K.J. Walton added 11 each. They also got plenty of time as spectators, watching their young teammates in the runaway win.

“They’re freshmen, but they don’t play like it.” Teague said. “We had a long summer with them. They’re more advanced than other freshmen would be because we had the trip to Costa Rica. So it’s just been teaching them the little things, and the big things they pretty much figured out from just being here.”