The Cardinals (21-13) held a 41-34 lead at halftime but were outscored by 15 after the break. Fort Wayne big man Brent Calhoun led the charge with 27 points, including 20 in the second half.
Tayler Persons led . . .
“I want to give Fort Wayne a lot of credit,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “When they made their run in the second half, I really thought their execution on the offensive end was great. They got the ball inside, they put us in pick-and-rolls, they got their drivers driving. They stayed very much within themselves. And I thought on the other end, we stopped sharing the ball.
Ball State continued to hold a 59-52 lead with 11:46 to play, but Fort Wayne (20-12) went on an 18-4 run over the next five minutes to seize control.
The Cardinals were able to cut the deficit to two points on two occasions behind some clutch outside shooting from Tyler down the stretch. The junior guard scored all 14 of his points in the second half, including 11 in the final six minutes.
Tyler’s 3-pointer with 2:32 to play cut the lead to 81-79, but Mo Evans answered with a trey for Fort Wayne on the other end. The Mastodons went on to score seven of the game’s final eight points.
Evans scored 15 points and handed out 12 assists, including eight assists after halftime.
Ball State matched its season high for 3-pointers against a Division I team with 14. The Cardinals’ 319 3-pointers this season are a new school record, surpassing the 310 hit by the 2001-02 team.
But Fort Wayne outscored Ball State 52-22 in the paint. The Cardinals played without starting center Trey Moses, who missed his first start of the year after sustaining an injury in the MAC Tournament semifinals.
House and Weber -- a pair of 1,000-point scorers -- played the final games of their careers. House finished his four years 11th in school history with 1,371 points and seventh with 741 rebounds.
This marked the second straight postseason appearance for Ball State, which finished with 21 wins for the second year in a row. It is the first time the Cardinals have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1991-92 and 1992-93.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)