By: Connor Onion | @Conion22
Play-by-play voice on SL Radio on WCRD
Member of Ball State Sports Link
Ball State hosts Eastern Michigan for the second meeting between the teams this season. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 88-87 in double overtime Jan. 23 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on a last-second 3-pointer from Francis Kiapway.
The Cardinals hold a one-game lead in the Mid-American Conference West Division at 9-6 in league play with three games left. Toledo and Central Michigan are one game back, while Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois are two games behind.
For any athlete, losing hurts. Losing hurts more so when the integrity and fairness of the game is in question. So was the case on January 23rd in Ypsilanti, Michigan for Eastern Michigan. A competitive, entertaining game turned ugly for the Eagles when this happened:
— @bsusportslink (@bsusportslink) January 23, 2016
Ball State emerged victorious and has strung together three other MAC road wins to perch themselves atop the MAC West. For Eastern Michigan, the loss was the exclamation point to a miserable 2-6 start to conference play.
The Eagles will have one thing on their mind Saturday afternoon: revenge.
A season ago when Ball State’s Sean Sellers won the Mid-American Conference Freshman Player of the Year Award there was debate amongst league voters on who was most deserving. This year, there should be no such debate.
James Thompson IV has been a man possessed this season. He’s averaging a double double per contest (15 points, 11 rebounds) and currently ranks first in the MAC in rebounding and field goal percentage, third in blocks and eight in rebounds.
The nine games prior to Tuesday night’s outburst against Toledo were a struggle for Ball State’s Ryan Weber. The junior wing only totaled double figures twice in that two-game stretch and averaged six points per game, half of his season average.
The Youngstown St. transfer broke free on the perimeter Tuesday night. He hit his first four shot from distance and finished the night with 18 points, his highest output since he scored 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting against Western Michigan in early January.