The Cardinals scored 52 points and hit eight 3-pointers after intermission to break open what was just a one-point lead at the break.
Junior Kyle Mallers, who was held scoreless in Ball State’s most recent game at Northern Illinois, was on fire against the Broncos. He finished with career highs in points (22) and 3-pointers made (6) while hitting 7-of-11 from the floor. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native also racked up a season-best 10 rebounds to record his third career double-double.
Mallers’ roommate, Brachen Hazen, also provided a spark for Ball State (13-11, 4-7 MAC). Hazen saw game action for the first time in 16 contests after dealing with a lingering injury. He chipped in 11 points, including three 3-pointers, one of which he banked in from the top of the key during Ball State’s pivotal run in the second half.
“In (Hazen’s) 18 minutes, we outscored them by 22,” Whitford said. “He provided us a good lift with his energy, and he’s another guy who can space the floor, which we certainly need.”
Hazen, Mallers and Austin Nehls all hit from long range in Ball State’s 15-2 run that saw the Cardinals stretch their lead to 64-47 with 4:50 left. Ball State would lead by as many as 21 points down the stretch in its first meeting against Western Michigan (6-17, 0-10) this season. The two teams will meet again in early March in Kalamazoo.
Tayler Persons scored 15 points and handed out five assists for Ball State, while K.J. Walton also reached double figures with 11 points.
Western Michigan suffered its 10th straight MAC loss. Center Seth Dugan tallied his 10th double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Broncos. Joining him in double figures were Michael Flowers (15) and Josh Davis (14).
-- Ball State hosts Akron Saturday, Feb. 16. (2 p.m.)
-- Western Michigan hosts Northern Illinois Tuesday (7 p.m.)