In any game, there can only be one winner, and it’s a lesson second-overall seed Ball State learned the hard way on Wednesday afternoon.
It was the seventh-seed Eastern Michigan Eagles who came out on top of a tough-and-tumble basketball game, triumphing late over the Cardinals by a final score of 64-63. It’s the second upset of the tournament so far in Cleveland, with Toledo defeating Central Michigan to start off the festivities earlier this afternoon.
This was the most competitive game of the day so far, as neither side assembled a lead in the double digits at any point in the contest, with Ball State’s biggest lead being 8, and EMU’s being 4.
The game changed fates 25 times, with 14 lead changes and 11 ties throughout the game. Heading into the last frame, Ball State had held delicate leads in each of the previous three quarters, and in fact, had lead for about 25 minutes of the game prior to the final 10 minutes. Their last lead would come at the 9:02 mark, when EMU rushed to an 11-0 run left over from the previous period and added on to it to push the lead to 4.
In the end, both teams had a chance to seal the game with a possession, but Areanna Combs missed a lay-up, and Ball State was unable to convert on the other side twice, once on a contested jumper from Oshlynn Brown and then again on an inbounds play with .3 seconds remaining. The game, it turned out, would be won on a Combs jumper with 4:42 to go in the game, while Ball State just couldn’t gain the edge despite making two field goals on six attempts.
Only four players notched their names on the scorer’s sheet for EMU on the day. but it was a balanced effort. Combs led the way, scoring a game-high 23 points, while grabbing four rebounds and three assists. Courtnie Lewis hit four of EMU’s five three-pointers, contributing 20 points, three rebounds and an assist in her efforts. Corrione Cardwell (10 points, seven rebounds, two assists off the bench) and Jenny Annecchiarico (11 points, four rebounds, five assists) were the other two players to notch points.
For Ball State, Sydney Freeman led the way with 17 points, two rebounds and three assists, while Jasmin Samz (11 points, six rebounds) and Anna Clephene (10 points, three rebounds, three assists) were contrinutors to the Cardinal stat sheet. Oshlynn Brown was BSU’s impact defender, with seven rebounds and two blocks, both in the second half to deny scoring opportunities. Thelma Dis Augustine was held mostly in check, with 9 points on 4-7 shooting and two assists in 38 minutes.
EMU will now await the winner of the Kent State vs. Buffalo game. They’ll play in the MAC semifinal game on Friday afternoon.