By: Connor Onion | @Conion22
Play-by-play voice on SL Radio on WCRD
Member of Ball State Sports Link
No. 6 seed Ball State has its season on the line tonight as No. 11 seed Miami travels to Muncie for the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The game can be heard on Sports Link Radio.
Three In One
No matter the sport, beating a team three times in a season is a demanding task. That is Ball State’s mission tonight against Miami.
It’s been 15 years since Ball State has knocked off the same opponent three times in one year. Coincidentally enough, the Cardinals were also a six seed in 2001, prevailing against Northern Illinois for the third time in the MAC Tournament’s opening round.
The first meeting between Miami and Ball State was the epitome of “grind it out” basketball.
Ball State trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half until Miami went cold. The Cardinals seized a brief lead in the final minute before Miami’s Eric Washington tied the game at 46 on a floater with 20 seconds remaining.
Then, Jeremiah Davis took over.
— @bsusportslink (@bsusportslink) February 9, 2016
Ball game. Ball State 48, Miami 46.
In the second matchup a month later, Ball State made quick work of the RedHawks in Oxford, Ohio. An 11-1 run out of halftime spring boarded the Cardinals to a 73-56 road victory.
Red Hot RedHawks
It’s March and the name of the game is to play your best ball heading into the post season.
In a season full of valleys, Miami has finally peaked.
The RedHawks have spent much of the conference season in the cellar after an 0-7 start.
It appeared as if they hit rock bottom on Feb. 20 heading into Ohio, fresh off a lackluster loss to Ball State. Entering the game 3-10 in conference play, matters worsened as four players, including second-leading scorer Geovonie McKnight were suspended.
Miami dropped to 3-11.
McKnight returned the following game for the final four game stretch of the MAC slate.
McKnight has carried the RedHawks, averaging 19 points per game since his suspension. Miami is 3-1 in those games with wins at home against top-seeded Akron, fifth-seeded Kent State and a road win at third-seeded Buffalo.
Postseason Rivalry Renewed
Tonight is the 10th meeting all-time between Ball State and Miami in the MAC Tournament.
While they schools haven’t matched up in postseason play since 2004, there have been some epic duels through out the years.
Most memorable, were the three times the Cardinals and RedHawks have met up in the Finals.
The 1992 Championship game came down to the wire as a Bill Gillis and Chandler Thompson led Ball State team came up a point shy of an NCAA tournament berth.
Ball State returned the favor in the 2000 MAC Championship with a slim 61-58 victory over Miami. That was the last time Ball State qualified for the NCAA tournament.