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MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Western Michigan Broncos at Ball State Cardinals

On an afternoon when both teams were hot, Ball State made their free throws when it counted to hold off the Broncos.

NCAA Basketball: Charleston Classic-Western Michigan vs Boise State Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Persons and Franko House combined to hit 9 of 13 shots in the first half, as Ball State built a 10 point lead over the Broncos at the break.

Seth Dugan got the start again for the Broncos, and led them going into the locker room with 8 points and 3 rebounds.

The Broncos made a run early in the second half, but Ball State answered, eventually going up by 14 after a Sean Sellers three at the 12:33 mark.

It would have been easy for the Broncos to fold on the road, but true to their nature this season, they fought back. When down double digits, coaches tell their teams to get it under 10 with 5 to go, and the Broncos did exactly that. A couple of Bryce Moore free throws put the Broncos down 7 at the 5:14 mark.

The Broncos continued to fight back, eventually closing within 2, 74-72, with 3:18 to go, thanks to a Thomas Wilder trey.

The teams then traded free throws, with the Cardinals gaining the edge, until a Tucker Haymond jumper made it a one possession game, 79-76 with under a minute to go.

Franko House and Sean Sellers each hit a pair of free throws, and Tayler Persons added one, and the Cardinals closed out the win, 84-78.

Tucker Haymond led the Broncos with 21 points hitting 7 of 11 from the field and all 6 free throws. Thomas Wilder added 19. Seth Dugan, in his second start in a row, scored 10 and grabbed 7 boards. Bryce Moore added 11 off the bench.

Tayler Persons led the Cardinals with 24 points on 9-11 shooting, and added 6 assists. Franko House scored 18, grabbed 6 boards and dished 4 dimes. Sean Sellers came off the bench to add 12 on 4 of 5 shooting.

The Broncos hit 50% of their shots, and 35% of their three pointers. Ball State hit 58% and 56% beyond the arc. The teams combined for only 53 rebounds, with the Broncos holding a 5 rebound edge.

Western Michigan dropped to 6-14 on the season, and 2-6 in the MAC. They play host to the Ohio University Bobcats on Tuesday.

Ball State improved to 14-7 and 5-3 in the MAC, good enough to tie for first place in the West. They host the Toledo Rockets on Tuesday.