Guard Taylor Persons runs past Toledo forward Steve Taylor Jr. for a two-point lay up on Jan. 31 at Worthen Arena. Ball State defeated Toledo 81-80. Grace Hollars // DN
RECAP: Ball State men's basketball vs. Toledo
The Ball State men’s basketball team (15-7, 6-3 MAC) has won six of the past seven games, after a 81-80 come-back over Toledo this evening in Worthen Arena.
In an effort to shake a Toledo lead that lasted the entire first half, redshirt freshman Tahjai Teague put up a dunk to tie it at 63. A jumper by redshirt sophomore guard Tayler Persons captured the lead for the Cardinals with 8:52 left to play.
Ball State leading scorers
Tayler Persons (26)
Franko House (19)
Tahjai Teague (16)
“I thought our guys played with great energy in the second half and I thought Tayler’s performance tonight was exceptional, top to bottom in every category played,” head coach James Whitford said. “He completely controlled the game when we were struggling to score and took us on his shoulders.”
Staying hot after his performance against Western Michigan last weekend, Persons was the leading scorer on the court for the second time this week, putting up 26 points, eight assists and three rebounds for the Cardinals.
"I have really good teammates that put me in really good positions to score," Persons said. "I try to be aggressive and my team trusts me."
Although he ran into foul trouble and ultimately fouled out, Teague had a career-high 16 points, shooting 2-2 behind the arc.
Senior forward Franko House contributed to the win, totaling 19 points and nine rebounds.
“I was impressed by Tayler’s composure and leadership in the huddles and his communication to the players during the course of the game,” Whitford said. “I think Franko being the other guy, I thought those two guys really lifted us and carried us to win.”
Ball State kept a strong lead late in the second half, until Toledo’s offense attempted to close the gap, leaving Ball State with a 79-76 lead with 1:14 to go. Junior guard Francis Kiapway shot two free throws to secure the Cardinal’s win.
The Cardinals scored 34 points from the paint tonight, compared to Toledo’s 18.
Tonight’s win puts the Cardinals in first place in the MAC West as they continue conference play Feb. 3 when Buffalo comes to visit.