Ball State men’s basketball player Tahjai Teague, 25, goes to shoot the ball during the first half of the game against Kent State Feb. 9 at John E. Worthen Arena. Teague scored 20 points during the game. Briana Hale, DN
Ball State uses strong second half to pull away from Akron
For the first time this season, Ball State men’s basketball has won three Mid-American Conference games in a row.
Junior center Trey Moses and sophomore forward Tahjai Teague continue to be the go-to guys for this new-look Ball State lineup. Both players finished with a double-double to help Ball State (17-9, 8-5 MAC) pull away from Akron (11-14, 4-9 MAC) in the second half of the team's 90-77 victory.
Moses tied his career-high in points for the second consecutive game with 22 to go along with his game-high 13 rebounds and a pair of blocks. The junior center has now shot an unconscious 18-21 from the floor over his last two games. Teague added 21 points and 10 rebounds in his team-high 32 minutes.
Junior guard Tayler Persons continued his strong season with 18 points in 31 minutes. Persons connected on three 3-pointers and added a team-leading four assists as he came out attacking.
When Akron guard Malcolm Duvivier started the game by hitting five triples in the first 13 minutes, it looked like it might not be the Cardinals’ night. The Zips led by as many as 11 early, but a 16-4 run to close the first half gave the Cardinals the lead and all the momentum heading into the locker room.
That momentum carried over into the second half as Ball State shot 60 percent from the floor and held Akron to just 38 percent shooting with stifling defense throughout the final 20 minutes.
The bigger Ball State lineup has allowed the team to become a force inside the paint. The Cardinals pushed around the Zips to the tune of a +19 rebounding margin and a second consecutive game with at least 40 points in the paint.
As a team, Ball State shot 55 percent from the floor and is now 10-0 on the year when shooting 50 percent or better from the field. After shooting 41 percent tonight, the Cardinals have shot above 40 percent from beyond the arc in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Ball State will return home to host MAC West Division leader Toledo on Saturday, Feb. 17. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.