Northern Illinois Beats Ball State in OT, 67-65

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

It took extra time, but Northern Illinois stormed back from 15 down and beat Ball State 67-65 in overtime in Muncie Saturday, their first victory against the Cardinals in the last seven tries.

Ball State dominated for the majority of the game, leading by as much as 15 in the first half. Northern Illinois could barely sink a shot, making only 6 of 21 shots from the floor. But the Huskies would chip away in the second half, eventually taking the lead 55-54 off a Darrell Bowie three point shot with 3:39 remaining.

The teams would trade leads, as Majok Majok and Jordan Threloff would both make hook shots. After freshman Franko House missed two free throws, fellow freshman Mark Alstork would redeem him with two makes of his own. Another from Jesse Berry gave the Cardinals a 59-57 lead with 49 seconds left.

Foul trouble would catch up to the Cardinals and Majok Majok fouled out with 16 seconds left, one point shy of a double-double. However, Northern Illinois' Travon Baker would miss both free throws. On the ensuing possession, Ball State's Bo Calhoun was fouled and sank one of two free throws to give the Cardinals a 60-57 lead with 15 seconds left.

Northern Illinois sprinted down the floor, and with 9 seconds remaining, Baker redeemed himself and hit a three point shot to tie the game at 60-60. Ball State head coach James Whitford called a timeout to draw up a play for Chris Bond for the game winner. However, he couldn't sink the jumper as time expired and sent the game into overtime.

The Huskies got out to an early lead in overtime before Ball State could close to within one point at 66-65 after a Berry free throw. Ball State would have possession with less than 30 seconds left with a chance to take the lead, but Bond turned the ball over, forcing Zavier Turner to foul Baker. Baker would make one of two free throws to give the Huskies a 67-65 lead.

Bond would then attempt a layup to tie the game with 3 seconds left but missed, and Northern Illinois' Daveon Balls grabbed the rebound. He then appeared to travel, and a jump ball was called as time expired.

However, the refs waved it all off and the game ended with the Huskies escaping Muncie with the road win.

The killer for Ball State turned out to be free throws. They only shot 14-of-28 for the game, missing five in the last two minutes of regular time and overtime.

Aaric Armstead led the scoring for the Huskies with 14 points, followed by Jordan Threloff with 13 points. Ball State was led by Chris Bond with 16 points, Jesse Berry with 13, and Zavier Turner with 11. Majok finished with 11 rebounds and 9 points.

Northern Illinois (9-11, 3-5) faces Miami in Dekalb Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Ball State (4-15, 1-7) travels to Buffalo to take on the Bulls Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

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