Ball State Men’s Basketball started the new year and new Mid-American Conference (MAC) season on the road against Toldeo in what promised to be a top-tier matchup.
First-year head coach Michael Lewis marked his first MAC victory in notable fashion as the Cardinals defeated the Rockets, who went to the MAC Tournament Championship last season, 90-83.
Redshirt junior guard Jarron Coleman and senior guard Demarius Jacobs spearheaded the Ball State attack with a combined 51 points. Coleman shot 50 percent from the field (9-of-18) and 50 percent (4-of-8) from the 3-point line with two assists while Jacobs shot 72 percent (8-of-11) from the field and 75 percent (3-of-4) from deep with two rebounds and two assists.
The 3-point ball looked to be the difference between the two teams as Ball State shot 11-of-22 (50 percent) to Rocket's 7-of-18 (38 percent).
In addition to a potent attacking duo, the Cardinals dominated the boards with 12 offensive and 29 defensive rebounds to Toledo's three and 18. Sophomore guard Jaylin Sellers led the visiting team with 10 rebounds while redshirt sophomore Mickey Pearson and sophomore forward Basheer Jihad followed close behind with nine and eight respectively.
The Cardinals led early and often against the Rockets, 38 minutes and 55 seconds to be exact and, despite a late-game surge from the hosts, Sellers, Jacobs and Coleman iced the game out by shooting a combined 100 percent (8-of-8) from the free throw line in the final minute.
Ball State returns to Worthen Arena for a home titlt against last year's MAC Tournament Champions Akron Jan. 6 at 8:30 p.m.