Ball State comes out on top in tough battle on Senior Day
Loud cheers were heard throughout Worthen Arena as 2,822 fans honored Ball State’s senior class before tipoff of its final home game of the regular season.
Ball State (23-4, 12-4 MAC) extended its win streak to five games as it defeated Toledo (17-11, 8-8 MAC) 78-73 to end with a home record of 14-2.
“Our crowd was through the roof,” Coach Brady Sallee said. “Proud of the product that is becoming Worthen Arena, tough place to play and that crowd willed us at the end.”
This Cardinals win clinched third place for Ball State in the Mid-American Conference.
“When you’re playing at the end of February and you’re playing for something, these games become monumental,” Sallee said. "We don’t ever talk about byes or what this game means, we’re just trying to honestly win them all.”
Things started to get interesting as the Rockets started the fourth quarter on a 12-0 run, cutting a 13-point Cardinals lead. Toledo ended up tying the game with 18 seconds left.
The Cardinals shot only 20 percent from the field in the fourth quarter and were kept scoreless for about the first five minutes of the quarter.
However, Ball State was able to come up with two huge defensive stops and knock down clutch free throws to close the game.
“I would rather win a game like that than coming and dropping 110,” Sallee said. “I love to see a team that’s tough enough to hunker down and defend when they have to.”
The Cardinals were able to force the Rockets to turn the ball over 13 times.
Ball State finished the game shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the 3-point line.
“We were blazing through those first three quarters,” Sallee said. “We got it from just about everybody, and that’s what it takes to win big games.”
The Cardinals received double digit scoring from four players.
Junior guard Jasmin Samz led Ball State with 20 points, shooting 67 percent from the field and knocking down three-of-four shots from deep.
“Carmen and I talked before the game and all week about making this game special for our seniors,” Samz said. “[Moriah Monaco] got face-guarded and it just happened. Some of the shots were in my hands and I’ve put a lot of shots up in February.”
Junior guard Carmen Grande added 17 points, while also dishing out 9 assists.
The Cardinals will be back in action Wednesday on the road against Central Michigan at 7 p.m. to try and win their sixth straight.