It was a wild ending to the second half of of the game between Western Michigan and Ball State but hot three point shooting and some clutch play making by Franko House lifted the Cardinals to a 75-71 win over the Broncos in overtime.
We got to the third overtime game in two years between these two programs via a wild set of events in the final moments of the second half. With 31.6 seconds to play in regulation, the Cardinals had possession with 24 seconds to use on the shot clock. Deep in the possession, Franko House was fouled by Thomas Wilder, giving the Cardinals an empty shot clock underneath with 11 seconds remaining. A missed layup by house went out of bounds to the Cardinals, leading to a House missed fade away jumper as time expired. At least, the time was supposed to expire, the game clock never started. Nonetheless, this game would require five extra minutes of sorting out.
Franko House proved too much for Western Michigan down the stretch. Despite scoring just 8 points, House put points on the board in another way by dishing out 9 assists, many of which led to three pointers, including one from his stomach with 2:24 to play in overtime to the sharp shooting Jeremie Tyler. The basket tilted the run of play in the Cardinals' favor and they never looked back. House even hit just his third three pointer of the year to give Ball State a one point lead with just over two minutes to play in the second half.
The story for Ball State was their effort from behind the arc. Unable to do much damage inside, they turned to a barrage of 30 three point attempts of which they made 15. Leading the way in that category were Tyler and Francis Kiapway who were a collective (and scorching) 9 of 14 from behind the three point line. Weber got in on the action late after a slow start, ending with 13 points on three of seven shooting. For WMU, the afternoon was not as kind to them from three, going just 5 for 16 from long range.
WMU led at halftime by six points despite being forced to play the final 11 minutes without their point guard and leading scorer in the conference, Thomas Wilder. Wilder picked up his second foul midway through the first half and was forced to the bench. However, the Broncos were given a huge lift by Bryce Moore and Taylor Perry, the latter of which played perhaps his best stretch of basketball on the season. Perry scored five points in the final 10 minutes of the half, including a crucial corner three that equaled his season average. Drake Lamont pitched in seven points to open the game for WMU, and was accompanied on the boards by Anthony Avery Jr. who ended with 12.
The Broncos responded well to being out rebounded by the Toledo Rockets on Tuesday by snagging 41 boards to the Cardinals 34, but they were unable to rebound in big spots in overtime. With less than a minute to play, Ball State Freshman Trey Moses, filling in for the fouled out House, went to the line for two free throws with 17 seconds to play and his team up by three points. Moses missed both free throws, but the Broncos surrendered a rebound on the miss to Ryan Weber, who was fouled and made both free throws. The exchange put the game out of reach for Western Michigan for good.
Ball State is now tied with Central Michigan for first in the MAC West division, and they will meet the Chippewas in Mount Pleasant on February 13th. But before then, the Cardinals travel to Athens to take on the Ohio Bobcats. For Western Michigan, it's about getting better for the MAC tournament, and they will have a great opportunity to do so against the Miami RedHawks.
|Points||T. Wilder (23)||J. Tyler (19)|
|Rebounds||A. Avery (12)||B. Calhoun (8)|
|Assists||3 Tied (2)||F. House (9)|
|Blocks||D. Lamont (1)||B. Calhoun (2)|
|Steals||2 Tied (2)||F. House (2)|