Ball State Men’s Basketball Game Notes (Feb. 21 vs. Eastern Michigan)

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A Look at the Cardinals

• Ball State returns to Worthen Arena to host Eastern Michigan fresh off two straight overtime road wins. The Cardinals defeated EMU in their first meeting of the season 88-80 on Jan. 24 in Ypsilanti, Mich., behind six double-figure scorers, led by Franko House with 17.

• Ball State sits alone atop the MAC West standings in its quest for a second straight division title. The Cardinals, who are 6-0 against divisional competition this season, are one game ahead of Toledo and Western Michigan.

• The Cardinals are coming off a 109-100, overtime victory at Central Michigan in a battle of last year’s West Division co-champions. Tayler Persons led seven double-figure scorers with 32 points, while post players Trey Moses and Franko House both had double-doubles, as Ball State earned a sweep of the season series over CMU.

• The Cardinals’ seven double-figures scorers at CMU were their most in a game during the program’s Division I era. This year’s Ball State team has placed at least five scorers in double figures in seven of its 14 MAC games.

• Moses has recorded double-doubles in three straight games to bring his season total to seven. He is averaging 13.7 points and 12.0 rebounds over the past three contests.

• Senior guard Ryan Weber is shooting 60 percent (18 of 30) from 3-point range over the past four games. He is averaging 15.5 points during that stretch with double figures in all four. Weber surpassed 1,000 points for his career in a 23-point effort Feb. 14 at Northern Illinois.

Last Time vs. Eastern Michigan

YPSILANTI, Mich. (Jan. 24, 2017) — In a matchup of teams picked first and second in the MAC West Division preseason poll, Ball State controlled the action Tuesday in an 88- 80 win at Eastern Michigan.

The Cardinals defeated the Eagles twice last season behind strong 3-point shooting efforts, including a school-record 18 long balls in Muncie.

This game was a different story. The Cardinals demonstrated a level of toughness that excited head coach James Whitford, out-scoring EMU 36-20 in the paint, holding a 42-34 rebounding advantage and going hard for key loose balls.

Ball State won for the fourth time in its past five games and moved into a share of first place in the MAC West. “This was our grittiest, toughest performance by a significant margin in my eyes,” Whitford said.

Franko House led six Cardinals in double figures with 17 points to go with nine rebounds, while Trey Moses recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 boards.

The post players also did a number on Eastern Michigan big man James Thompson. They held Thompson to six points (eight below his average) on 3-of-8 shooting.

“We did a great job on him defensively because he’s a load,” Whitford said. “He’s really strong and really physical. Most of his shots were mid-range shots. He didn’t get a lot of shots around the rim, and that was the key.”

Jeremie Tyler added 14 points for BSU, while Tayler Persons (11), Tahjai Teague (10) and Ryan Weber (10) also had double figures. Ball State led by as many as 10 points on two occasions in the first half and took a 38-
30 lead into the locker room. The Cardinals built the lead largely on the defensive end of the floor, holding the Eagles to 31 percent shooting over the opening 20 minutes. In the second half, Ball State’s bigs went to work, feeding each other from the high post. The trio of House, Moses and Teague
combined for five dunks, all after halftime. The Cardinals executed so well against Eastern Michigan’s zone defense that the Eagles abandoned it for man-to-man down the stretch, something they never do.

Ball State withstood Eastern Michigan’s biggest push when the Eagles went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 59-56 with 10 minutes to go in the game.
But there was no panic on the Cardinals’ bench when Whitford called a timeout to regroup. They came out of the huddle and scored the next 11 points.

Last Time Out

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. — It was another road game and another overtime victory for the Ball State men’s basketball team.

Tayler Persons scored a career-high 32 points to lead seven double-figure scorers Saturday as the Cardinals held off Central Michigan 109-100 at McGuirk Arena.

The second straight OT road win kept Ball State (17-10, 8-6 MAC) alone atop the Mid-American Conference West Division standings. The Cardinals will return home to host Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday for #ChirpChirp Social Media Night at Worthen Arena.

“We’re playing good basketball,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “We’ve really played well three and a half of the past four games. Sometimes you win these ones, and sometimes you lose them. But for us to come on the road and get back-toback wins is huge for us.”

Trey Moses (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Franko House (11 points, 10 boards) finished with double-doubles as the Cardinals swept the season series from the Chippewas (16-11, 6-8 MAC). For Moses, it was his third in a row.

Francis Kiapway matched his season-high with 18 points, while Ryan Weber (12), Sean Sellers (11) and Tahjai Teague (11) also scored double figures. Ball State used an eight-point spurt from Kiapway in the final 90 seconds of the first half to build a 47-40 lead at the break. The Cardinals then led for all but 18 seconds of the second half.

Braylon Rayson’s fall-away 3-pointer from the corner tied the game at 90. The Cardinals had the last possession, but Kiapway’s 3 in the final seconds was off the mark, and the game went to overtime. Just like Tuesday night at Northern Illinois, Ball State controlled the extra period.

Central Michigan grabbed the first lead on a Cecil Williams 3-point play. But the Cardinals followed with an 8-1 run, including a big 3-pointer from Sellers when the game was tied, to regain command. Ball State scored its final 12 points at the free throw line as Central Michigan fouled to try to stay in the game.

“I thought we played with great composure, especially at the end of the game,” Whitford said.

“We had two bad possessions on offense at the end of regulation, and then they opened up with a 3-point play to start the overtime. It would have been easy for us to fold, but we didn’t.”

Central Michigan’s Marcus Keene, the nation’s leading scorer, had 40 points but needed 36 shots to get there. He went 6 for 20 from 3-point range.
Rayson added 34 points.

Persons scored 23 of his 32 points after halftime to keep the Cardinals in front. He did a lot of his damage by getting in the paint for short jumpers, finishing the game 11 for 16 from inside the arc.

Ball State finished the game at 52 percent from the floor and knocked down 12 of 31 from 3-point range, including four treys each for Kiapway and Weber.

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