The junior point guard drained his third game-winning 3-pointer of the year with 1.3 seconds left Tuesday night as the Ball State Cardinals defeated Bowling Green 59-56 at Worthen Arena.
Persons scored . . .
This was Persons' third game-winner of the year. He hit 3's from virtually the same spot on the floor to beat then-No. 8 Notre Dame and Valparaiso in back-to-back games in December. Six times this year, Persons has scored to tie or give Ball State the lead in the final 20 seconds.
"It feels amazing, obviously. But to be honest, I'm just glad we dug that one out. We were losing the whole game … We love being here, we love being in front of our fans.“
Ball State trailed Bowling Green (14-10, 5-6 MAC) by six (33-27) at the break and faced its biggest deficit at 45-37 with 11:30 to play.
Persons pulled the Cardinals within one at 49-48 on a 3-pointer with 7:53 left, and Sellers gave BSU its first lead of the second half at 54-53 on a trey of his own with 3:59 left.
A pair of free throws from Moses pushed the lead to three, but Bowling Green's Justin Turner hit the Falcons' only three of the second half to tie the game at 56 at the 2:14 mark. That was the last bucket for either team until Persons' game-winner.
Bowling Green's Dylan Frye was nearly the hero, but his 3-pointer with 11 seconds left rimmed out, and the Cardinals got the final shot. Persons worked around a high ball screen from Moses and found nothing but net.
"When we started this game flat after the last game, I was deeply disappointed,” Ball State head coach James Whitford said. “But in the end, I thought we played as hard as we've played all year with enthusiasm. I thought we had very flat (play) and then excellent, some of our best basketball, within the same game. We have to become more consistent in that."
The Cardinals victory snapped Bowling Green’s two-game winning streak as the Falcons fell to 14-10, 5-6 MAC.
Antwon Lilliard paced BG with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Frye contributed 14 points.
Ball State will host Kent State for a 9 p.m. tipoff Friday in a nationally televised game on ESPNU. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday but was moved for television.
Bowling Green hosts Eastern Michigan Saturday (4 p.m. ET).