A wild ride: Looking at the top moments from the Ball State men's basketball season

<p>The Cardinals cheer for their team at the home game in John E. Worthen Arena Feb. 23 against the Broncos. Ball State lost 80-87. <strong>Rebecca Slezak, DN</strong></p>

The Cardinals cheer for their team at the home game in John E. Worthen Arena Feb. 23 against the Broncos. Ball State lost 80-87. Rebecca Slezak, DN

The up and down year that Ball State men's basketball had has officially come to and end.

Each of the previous two seasons, the Cardinals have played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) following their exit from the Mid-American Conference Tournament. According to the Star Press, however, Ball State won't play in a postseason tournament this year.

After losing to Kent State in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals, Ball State finishes with a 19-13 record, falling one win short of a third straight 20-plus season under the direction of fifth year head coach James Whitford.

It's hard to remember a season, if there's ever been one, that had the countless crucial moments that this year's Ball State team went through both on and off the court. Relive some of the biggest storylines, good and bad, from this season:

The Good

There were plenty of brights spots and memorable moments for Ball State:

Ball State 'knocking on the door' of previous eras successOver the summer, Whitford picks up a pair of Southeastern Conference transfers, bringing his roster total to eight former Indiana All-Stars. K.J. Walton from Missouri and Brachen Hazen from Arkansas gave an even brighter outlook for the future of Ball State men's basketball.

Banner chasing: Men's hoops has eyes on MAC ChampionshipBall State was vocal about wanting a successful season. It's been 18 years since the Cardinals hung a banner from the rafters of Worthen Arena but Whitford and company were confident on their mission to change that.

RELATED: Takeaways from a conversation with James Whitford

Persons hits last-second 3-pointer to beat No. 9 Notre DameIn the first of many last-second shots for Tayler Persons, the junior point guard helped lift Ball State past Notre Dame on the road. The early-season win marked the program's first victory over a Top 25 opponent since 2001.

RELATED: Fans, alumni, players celebrate win on Twitter

RELATED: Persons hits near identical shot to be Valpo

RELATED: Persons does it again ... this time against Bowling Green

Ball State gets hot with ninth straight victoryLearning from their early season struggles, Ball State pushes past Eastern Michigan and becomes one of the nation's hottest teams.

Fans take notice, attendance increases at WorthenBall State finished the regular season 14-2 at home and for good reason — fans made it hard for opposing teams to win. A season average of 3,720 fans marked Ball State's best attendance average since the 2011-12 season.

Instant classic? Ball State beats Akron in record-breaking gameWith what started out to be a slow-paced contest quickly turned into one of the most exciting games of the season. Ball State rallied past Akron in an 111-106 double overtime thriller.

Ball State dominates Toledo, making them the hottest MAC team?Playing the second-best team in the conference, one would expect a close game. The Cardinals didn't think so, however, beating the Rockets by 26-points at home. The win showed that the Cardinals seemingly found their new identity late in the season.

RELATED: Ball State is playing big and it's paying off

Sellers breaks program's all-time 3-point recordDespite the loss, a packed crowd watched senior Sean Sellers break Ball State's all-time career 3-point record. Just five minutes into the game, Sellers hit his 225th 3-pointer, breaking the record previously held by Jesse Berry.

The Bad

With all the good things that happened, there was equal amount of adversity and heartbreak, starting with some early news that shook the entire Ball State community.

The death of Zach HollywoodBall State was sent reeling after the death of men's basketball player Zach Hollywood. The 19-year-old was found dead in his apartments after what was determined to be a suicide.

Ball State doesn't actually receive AP Top 25 votesIn a mixup with college basketball reporter Seth Davis it appeared that Ball State earned AP Top 25 votes. It didn't. Davis meant to put in Baylor not Ball State in his preseason selection, giving false hope to the Cardinals faithful early on.

Tough schedule results in 2-4 start for Ball StateBall State knew the beginning of its season was going to be tough and it showed in the first six games of the year. Losing to Dayton on a last-second shot, Bucknell, Oregon and Oklahoma wasn't the ideal start for Ball State.

RELATED: Ball State releases tough 2017-18 men's basketball schedule

Nine-game winning streak snapped in 20-point Buffalo lossAs quickly as Ball State appeared to be piecing everything together, it came to a sudden halt in a huge home loss. Buffalo, as expected, went on to win the MAC Tournament and Ball State suffered a few more blowout losses throughout the season.

Jontrell Walker preliminarily charged with domestic batteryIn Ball State's victory over Akron, it was without one of its most prolific 3-point shooters. Transfer Jontrell Walker was found guilty of domestic battery charges earlier the morning leading up to the game.

Senior Jeremie Tyler dismissed from teamThings quickly went from bad to worse as Ball State senior Jeremie Tyler was dismissed from the team because of a "violation of team rules." It marked the fourth time Tyler was suspended from the team in his career with the latest coming at the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

Season characterized in quarterfinal loss to Kent StateBall State had every chance to move onto the semifinal game of the MAC Tournament against Buffalo but Kent State had other ideas. The Cardinals season seemed to culminate in a tight 3-point loss to the Golden Flashes in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament.

RELATED: Ball State falls just short in 'One of those games'

Contact Robby General at rjgeneral@bsu.edu or on Twitter @rgeneraljr.  


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