Ball State Men’s Basketball (12-14, 7-8 MAC) inched closer to clinching a berth in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament with its 91-82 win over Bowling Green (12-15, 5-11 MAC) Feb. 19.
The Cardinals victory earned them a season sweep against the Falcons as Ball State won the first meeting 81-80 Jan. 1.
Throughout the first half, the Cardinals went back-and-forth with the Falcons as senior forward Miryne Thomas traded baskets with Bowling Green senior forward Matiss Kulackovskis. Thomas scored 15 of his team-high 18 points in the first half, as the Cardinals held a 46-44 lead at halftime.
In the second half, fouls mounted up for Thomas as he fouled out with two minutes and 48 seconds left in the game.
With Thomas in foul trouble, junior guard Tyler Cochran scored 16 points and added six assists. Freshman center Payton Sparks registered a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior forward Mickey Pearson Jr pitched in 13 points off the bench for the Cardinals, and Thomas said he was glad to see the Cardinals depth on display.
“It was exciting to see our guys stay ready,” Thomas said. “We play six or seven guys, so for the remaining guys on the bench to come in and stay ready while other players are in foul trouble was amazing to see.”
Junior guard Luke Bumbalough scored 10 points with six assists. Freshman forward Basheer Jihad contributed seven points and freshman guard Jaylin Sellers scored six points.
The Falcons were led by junior guard Samari Curtis with 18 points.
With seven minutes and 32 seconds left in the second half, Cochran rebounded the ball and found Pearson Jr for a 3-pointer. Head coach James Whitford singled this out as a pivotal moment.
“[A key play was when] Tyler got a rebound and had poise while surrounded in the paint and caught Mickey for a three,” Whitford said.
The Cardinals return to action Feb. 22 against Kent State (17-9, 12-4 MAC). Tipoff is 7 p.m.