Neither team could gain the advantage in the first half, until Ball State’s Francis Kiapway heated up late and helped lead the Cardinals to a 47-40 halftime lead.
Braylon Rayson scored 16 in the first half for the Chippewas to keep them in striking distance.
Early in the second half, Ball State started to edge their lead up before Marcus Keene heated up and knocked down a couple threes to keep the Chippewas in it. The Cardinals led 57-51 with 15:48 left in the game. As a team, they were hitting 60% from the field, and 53.3% from three.
Again Ball State started to creep their lead up before Marcus Keene made a sick and-one in the lane, and a three pointer that would be a terrible shot from anyone else in the country, save Braylon Rayson. The Cardinals still led 72-65 at the 7:51 TV timeout.
Rayson hit a huge fade-away three from the corner to close the lead to 83-79 with 4 minutes and change. After a pair of Ball State turnovers, a Keene layup brought CMU within 2. Taylor Person answered, and Keene answered that, 85-83, Ball State.
After the officials went to the replay to give the ball to Ball State after ruling it originally CMU’s ball, Kiapway hit a huge three. A pair of free throws by Keene gave him 40 points, and also made it a one possession game again.
Keene and Rayson missed threes to tie it up, and Person hit a fade-away from the free throw line, to put Ball State up 90-85. With their threes not dropping, Rayson drove the lane and got to the line. He knocked down both, 90-87
The crowd was chanting MVP as Keene tried to tie it up with less than a minute to go, and he missed the three. Ball State ran the clock down. On a switch they had 5’9 Keene guarding 6’9 Trey Moses on the block, but Ball State decided to shot a three.
Rayson took a three from his spot on the right baseline, and drilled it to tie it up. Kiapway had a good look on a step back from three that went in and out, and into overtime they went, the score tied, 90-90.
A Person jumper from 6 feet tied it up at 94. An offensive goal-tending call on a ball that likely would have dropped gave the Cardinals the ball back with 2:41 left in the extra period.
After changing possessions, CMU allowed Persons to weasel out of a double team on the baseline, and get the ball to Sean Sellers, who nailed the three. A Moses free throw put Ball State up 4. Rayson hit a couple free throws to put CMU down 2 with a minute to go.
Persons hit 3 out of 4 free throws. Keene had the ball roll off the rim after a nifty move, and Franko House hit a pair of free throws to put the Cardinals up 7 with 38 seconds left. Sean Sellers then hit a couple more.
Ball State won the game, 109-100.
Tayler Persons had 32 for the Cardinals, and Francis Kiapway added 18 more. Trey Moses had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Marcus Keene had 40 in the game for the Chippewas. Braylon Rayson added 34. Cecil Williams scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. DaRohn Scott led Central Michigan with 10 rebounds, and added 2 points.
Ball State shot 52% from the floor, and 38.7% from beyond the arc. They won the rebounding battle, 52-46.
Ball State moved to 17-10 overall, and 8-6 in the MAC. They host Eastern Michigan next.
Central Michigan dropped to 16-11 on the season, and 6-8 in the league. They host Northern Illinois next.