They did it again.
For the third straight year, the Miami RedHawks captured a berth to Cleveland by winning a first round road-game, this time against the Ball State Cardinals, 49-47.
Miami started out by scoring the game's first four points, and it took Ball State until nearly the 16-minute mark of the half to get on the board. But once they were on the board, they quickly erased Miami's lead and the two sides went back-and-forth, with the Cards being led by sophomore guard Sean Sellers.
The scoring slowed down during the middle of the half, and five minutes left in the half, the sides were tied at 18.
Miami finished out the half strong, and lead at the break, 27-22.
Both teams traded baskets to start out the second half, with Miami extending their lead to 34-26 by the 16-minute TV timeout.
Ball State began their comeback moments later, and cut the lead to four in just a few possessions. However, Miami responded back, getting a basket and putting their lead back at 7. Jeremie Tyler pushed right back, though, scoring to put Miami's lead back down down to three, and forcing the RedHawks to use a timeout with 8:17 remaining.
Eric Washington led Miami with 15 points, and Franko House led all Cardinals with 15 as well.
Out of the timeout, the Cardinals forced a stop, and Sellers scored at the cup to cut the once double-digit lead to just one.
The Cardinals earned stops on each of their next two possessions, but still couldn't take the lead due to Miami's defense taking two straight charges near the basket. The RedHawks took advantage of BSU's missed opportunities to score four straight points, and take a 43-38 lead with under five minutes left to play.
Ball State erased Miami's advantage on the possessions leading past the 4-minute mark. However, on the return possession, Eric Washington kept up his great night by getting to the line and nailing two free throws to retake a two-score lead, 45-41 with 3:00 to play.
The Cards went the entire second half without getting a triple to fall, and finished 3-for-23 from long distance overall.
House made 1-of-2 free throws on BSU's ensuing possession, and the Cards looked to have a chance to tie, but Sellers stepped on the line while saving the loose rebound, giving Miami a second chance, which they took at advantage of to take a 47-42 lead with under two minutes left.
However, Ball State wasn't done. House scored a bucket and the foul to cut the score to one before getting a stop and giving it back to House, who scored on the block to tie the game up at 47.
With just three seconds left in the game, Francis Kiapway hacked Washington as he lost the ball going up for the buzzer-beating shot, and Washington sunk both of his freebies to give Miami a 49-47 victory.
Ball State was unable to tie the game back up or win it, with Kiapway missing a three from just past half court that would have won the game.
Ball State finishes the season at 19-13, while Miami improves to 13-19, and will play Buffalo on Thursday night.