Ball State guard/forward Sean Sellers attempts to shoot a three-pointer during the game against Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 10 in Worthen Arena. Sellers scored a career-high 32 points and broke the school record for most 3-pointers in a game. Grace Ramey // DN
RECAP: Ball State men’s basketball vs. Eastern Kentucky
Cardinals beat Colonels in overtime
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sellers broke the school record for 3-point shots made in a single game. Sellers hit seven 3-pointers; the program record is eight.
It took overtime to decide Ball State's (6-4) 91-86 victory over Eastern Kentucky (6-5).
Head coach James Whitford said winning such a close game can help Ball State down the stretch.
“Us winning a close game is important,” Whitford said. “You could see us getting a little tight, and I think hopefully it helped us to win the close game, it is a piece of the puzzle, and the lion's share of the puzzle is to get the whole team together and earn the right to be a great team.”
Ball State stats:
Field goal: 29-64 (45.3 percent)
Second chance points: 12
Eastern Kentucky stats:
Field goal: 33-72 (45.8 percent)
Second chance points: 3
Eastern Kentucky led 43-40 at halftime, but junior forward Sean Sellers tied the game 43-43 with his first shot of the second half. Sellers scored a career-high 32 points and he later tied the back-and-forth game 56-56 with a 3-pointer and again at 67-67.
Sellers finished 7-10 on 3-point attempts, one shy of tying the school record for 3-pointers made in a single game.
“It is a huge help,” Whitford said. “Sean was really able to stretch them out and score some big baskets for us that we needed.”
Eastern Kentucky stretched a lead to seven during the first half but was thwarted by a series of senior forward Franko House buckets. House finished with nine points and 12 rebounds in 21 minutes of play, fouling out at the seven minute mark of the second half.
House fouling out stretched an already thin bench — redshirt sophomore forward Tahjai Teague averages 19.1 minutes per game but sat out against Eastern Kentucky due to a concussion in practice earlier in the week.
“We were dealing with Tahjai, finding out yesterday he wasn’t going to play, and Franko fouling is really hard on our team,” Whitford said. “We had to deal with a lot of adversity and despite that we didn’t get distracted. We kept fighting, we did a great job on the glass, and I thought guys really played the game the right way.”
House and sophomore forward Trey Moses combined for 26 rebounds, leading the Cardinals to a 47-36 rebounding advantage over the Colonels.
“I would have not guessed, knowing how [the Colonels] have rebounded the ball this year," Whitford said. "For us to dominate the glass like we did was a heck of a stat.”
Ball State hosts Longwood Dec. 19, and Whitford said the win against Eastern Kentucky can ease tone of those days off.
“We dealt with a little adversity and could see ourselves working through it,” Whitford said. “If we don’t earn it from here going forward it doesn’t mean very much.”