Ball State (10-5, 1-1 MAC) came into Worthen Arena Tuesday having not lost a game on its home floor all year. Eastern Michigan (7-8, 1-1 MAC) played the role of spoiler. It took two overtimes, but the Eagles eventually escaped with an 84-82 win. Here’s what stood out the most from the Cardinals’ performance.
Welcome to the club
After a 17-point outing at Toledo, senior center Trey Moses found himself three points away from 1,000 for his career. Five minutes into Tuesday’s contest, a post-hook shot off the glass proved to be the shot to get him over the hump.
Moses became the 32nd in Cardinal history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for Ball State. Fellow senior Tayler Persons was the last to top that mark, doing so in the Mid-American Conference Tournament last season.
Moses finished the game Tuesday with 16 points and a team-high 10 assists.
Teague sets new bar
Redshirt junior forward Tahjai Teague had himself a day against the Eagles. Not only did he set a new career high with 28 points, but he also matched his personal best with 14 rebounds, leading the team in both categories.
Teague shot 11 of 18 from the field and sunk six free throws. Nine of his rebounds came on the offensive end, providing extra scoring opportunities.
At the end of regulation, Teague had recorded 23 points and 13 boards. The two overtime periods allowed him to eclipse his personal marks.
Uncharacteristic play from Persons
Persons has been the Cardinals’ leading scorer ever since he stepped foot on the court in Worthen Arena. By the numbers, he is having his best scoring season of his career to this point, averaging 16.2 points per game.
Tuesday was a different story. Persons finished the game with four points and only made 1 of 11 shot attempts. It was an off night to say the least for Persons, who shoots 46 percent from the field.
He also missed what would have been the game-winning 3-pointer at the end of regulation, a situation in which fans have become accustomed to seeing him succeed as he hit three game-winners last season.
Nehls ties it
Persons also tried to find a shot down three during the final seconds of the first overtime, but Eastern Michigan’s defense smothered him, forcing the ball out of his hands. Persons gave it to Moses who found a wide-open Austin Nehls in the corner. He let it fly – nothing but net. Nehls’ three forced a second overtime to keep the Cardinals alive.
Tuesday was somewhat of a breakout game for the senior transfer from Central Connecticut. On average, he only plays 13 minutes and scores 3.5 points a game. The Eastern Michigan game saw him on the court for 34 minutes, and he made the most of his opportunity. Nehls scored nine points, shooting 3 for 4 from behind the arc. With sophomore guard Ishmael El-Amin sidelined due to injury, Nehls looks like a capable candidate to fill a higher bench role.