BSU held MAC West Division leader Toledo to 34 percent shooting (18 percentage points below its conference average), snapping the Rockets’ seven-game winning streak with a 75-63 victory at Savage Arena.
Tahjai Teague led . . .
Ball State (14-8, 5-4 MAC) led wire-to-wire, defeating Toledo for the fourth time in the past five meetings. The Rockets (15-7, 7-2 MAC) suffered just their second MAC defeat and their first since the league opener at Buffalo.
“I thought it was a real team win. Our effort level was incredible, Ball State head coach James Whitford said. “We had 21 second-chance points to their nine, and we won by 12. I thought it was just a toughness and an effort win for us … Our guys were yelling at timeouts to get the ball inside, and that was a big deal for us. We got 35 shots in the paint, and that’s always a good thing.”
Ball State scored the first six points of the night -- all after offensive rebounds -- and never trailed.
The Cardinals led by double digits less than six minutes into the game and stretched the margin to as many as 17 on a jumper from Persons with 6:29 left in the first half.
Toledo trimmed the lead to eight, but it was a 37-27 margin for Ball State at the break following a lay-in from Moses in the final seconds.
The Rockets cut the lead to six on a Nate Navigato 3-pointer midway through the second half, but Moses answered with a 3-point play to spark a 10-2 run that stretched the lead to 63-49.
Toledo pulled within six twice more, but Ball State had the answer both times. Teague put an exclamation point on the victory with a fastbreak slam in the final minute.
• Ball State dominated the glass 58-41 and pulled down a season-high 19 offensive rebounds. The Cardinals had 16 offensive boards in the first half and turned them into 17 second-chance points on the way to a 37-27 lead at the break.
• BSU outscored Toledo 48-26 in the paint. The Cardinals’ monster advantage on the glass led to 17 more field goal attempts than the Rockets (81-64).
• Teague’s career high before Saturday was 19 points. Now he has a 26-point game and a 21-point game in the span of four days. He collected 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the year.
• Moses scored 15 points and pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds on the way to his seventh double-double of the year and fifth in MAC play.
• Persons recorded 16 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, remarkably similar to his stat line in the victory over Central Michigan earlier this month. He again was within striking distance of the Cardinals’ first triple-double since Bonzi Wells in 1998.
• Turnovers had been a problem for Ball State during conference play, but the Cardinals gave the ball away a season-low seven times against Toledo.
• Toledo came into the night shooting 52 percent from the floor and 46 percent from 3-point range in conference play. BSU limited the Rockets to 34 percent from the floor and 26 percent from beyond the arc.
• Toledo’s Tre’Shaun Fletcher entered the night as the league’s leading scorer in MAC play at nearly 21 points per game. He scored 16 points Tuesday but went just 6 for 21 from the floor and 1 for 9 from 3-point range. He was largely guarded by Kyle Mallers, who has just recently shifted from the 4 spot to the 3 for Ball State.
• Whitford on Mallers’ defense: “He did an unbelievable job defending him on pick-and-rolls. Two weeks ago, Kyle was defending the big in pick-and-rolls, and now he’s defending the guard. That’s as different as pitching and catching. Here we are two weeks later, and he’s guarding the best pick-and-roll player in the conference.”
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)