"That was just a really good college basketball game with two pretty good teams trading blows," fifth year Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. "We beat them in Muncie; they clearly did not have their best night and that had something to do with us winning. Tonight, I thought they played very, very well.
Ball State's Persons finished with a game-high 21 points, going 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range, while Mallers and K.J. Walton finished with 10 points each.
Carter led the Bobcats with 16 points, all in the second half, going 6-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists and had a season-high three blocks.
Block finished the game with 15 points, connecting on 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-7 from three-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. finished with 11 points, going 4-of-7 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range, while grabbing four rebounds and one block. Freshman guard Jason Preston finished with 10 points, going 5-of-8 from the field and registering two steals. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas finished the game with seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Ball State opened the game with the first points, a three-pointer to give the Cardinals their first lead of the day. A layup from senior forward Doug Taylor got the Bobcats on the board and then back-to-back layups from Kirk and Block and a three from Cowart, Jr. put the Bobcats up 9-5 at the 15:56 mark. Ball State brought the deficit within one with a three of its own, but Vander Plas put Ohio up 11-8 with a driving layup.
The two teams traded baskets until an 8-0 Cardinals run put BSU up 29-21 with 4:12 to go in the half.
The Bobcats battled back over the remaining minutes of the period, with Cowart, Jr. draining another three to bring Ohio within four with 44 seconds left. However, Ball State's Tayler Persons hit a three of his own with one second left to send the teams to the locker rooms with Ball State leading, 37-30.
Ball State opened the second half with the first points, taking a nine-point lead before Ohio wennt on a 14-0 run over the next four and a half minutes, capped by a second-chance dunk from Taylor, giving the Bobcats a 45-41 lead with 15:04 left in the game.
After Ball State would go on to tie the game up at 45-45, two free throws from Block would put the Bobcats up, 51-47, with 12:36 to go.
Ball State took later took a 72-69 lead with under six minutes to play.
With 2:53 left, Carter gave Ohio the lead with a layup, which was matched by a jumper from Ball State, giving the Cardinals a 74-73 lead.
After a couple defensive stops on both ends of the court, the Bobcats set up Block perfectly with 39 seconds to go. Block drained his third three of the night, giving Ohio a 76-74 lead.
Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk hit two free throws down the final seconds, securing the 78-74 victory and a season sweep of the Cardinals.
"It was one of my biggest ones," Block said of his late 3-pointer. "I think I hit one in Charleston last year versus Indiana State; it was definitely up there,"
Overall, the Bobcats registered a 46.3 percent (31-of-67) field goal percentage, hit 29.2 percent (7-of-24) of their three-point shots and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) of their free throws.
As a team, Ohio secured 14 assists and 37 rebounds, falling neck and neck with Ball State. The Bobcats compiled eight steals and five blocks compared to Ball State's eight and three, respectively.
Ball State finished just ahead of Ohio with a 47.5 percent (29-of-61) field goal percentage, sinking significantly more three-point shots at 55.6 percent (10-of-18) and hitting 75.0 percent (6-of-8) of their free throws.