In the Ball State men’s basketball (14-7, 5-3 MAC) 84-78 victory over Western Michigan (6-14, 2-6 MAC), sophomore guard Tayler Persons (24) and senior forward Franko House (18) combined for 42 points.

“I felt pretty good, my teammates trust me out there,” Persons said. “When they [Western Michigan] have people like Trey and Franko to worry about down on the block it makes it easy for me out there.”

Cardinal top scorers

Tayler Persons (24)

Franko House (18)

Sean Sellers (12)

On top of House’s 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, sophomore forward Trey Moses added nine points, four rebounds and three assists.

After scoring only 3 points and securing one rebound in the loss to Bowling Green Jan. 21, House has responded with what head coach James Whitford called aggressive play against Eastern and Western Michigan, helping lead Ball State to wins.

“He has had back-to-back performances that were exceptional,” Whitford said. “If you look at his numbers, he has been great.”

Over the last two games House has scored 35 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and recorded 7 assists.

“I just try and go out and play my game,” House said. “If I pick up fouls then I pick them up it is something you have to play through, I have been playing through it my whole career.”

House attributed his poor play at Bowling Green to worrying about foul trouble, but in the victory over Western Michigan, House drew four fouls, still close to fouling out, but still playing his game. House has a team leading five foul outs this season.

Over the last six Mid-American Conference games, Ball State has won five of them, only losing to Bowling Green when House had “his worst game in a Ball State uniform,” Whitford said.

Leading the team in scoring, rebounding and assists in the win over Western Michigan, Whitford was impressed with House and Persons.

“Both of them were exceptional,” Whitford said. “We need them both to lead and I thought they did that with no question tonight.”

As good as Persons and House were against Western Michigan, Whitford still sees a chance for improvement in their games.

“We need Tayler to be more aggressive on defense and we need Franko to be more aggressive on offense,” Whitford said.

Against the Broncos, Persons and House were aggressive, scoring, grabbing rebounds and finding open teammates at will, and Whitford emphasized that this is what Ball State men’s basketball needs — aggressive play.

Sitting at first place in the MAC West Division with Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan, Ball State is in action Jan. 31 as it hosts Toledo for the second of three straight home games at Worthen Arena.