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Ball State rallies past Ohio, 75-68

Bobcats go cold in 2nd half

ATHENS – Ball state rallied from an early second-half deficit to defeat Ohio, 75-68, on Tuesday night at The Convo.

The Bobcats led by eight points in the first few minutes of the second half, but the Cardinals took control after.

Teyvion Kirk led Ohio (8-7, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) with 17 points, while Mike Laster and Jordan Dartis had 13 points each. Kevin Mickle had 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Trey Moses posted a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Tayler Persons also scored 16 points for the Cardinals (11-5, 2-1 MAC). Kyle Mallers tallied 14 points, and Jeremie Tyler had 13 points.

After taking a 31-29 lead at halftime on a James Gollon 3-pointer, Ohio had a strong start to the second half, beginning with a Doug Taylor offensive rebound and dunk. Taylor and Kirk added layups to cap what was an 11-0 run including the final minutes of the first and starting minutes of the second halves.

The Bobcats were not able to generate enough offense after that, and the Cardinals came back. Mallers hit a 3-pointer to make it a 37-34 game with 16:45 to go, and a few minutes later, a Tyler 3-pointer cut Ball State’s deficit to 43-41. That was the start of a 12-0 run that eventually put the Cardinals ahead 50-43 with 12:16 remaining.

Kirk’s free throws with 9:23 got Ohio to within 55-53, and a Laster dunk two minutes later made it a two-point game again, but Persons hit a jumper and Tyler another 3-pointer to push the lead back to seven.

The Bobcats got no closer than five after that. Kirk hit a 3-pointer to make it 73-68 with just over a minute remaining, and the Cardinals missed on their next possession but got an offensive rebound and then made two free throws.

Ohio got off to a good start in the game, taking a 10-4 lead, but Ball State tied the score at 18 on a Mallers 3-pointer with nine minutes left in the first half and then went up on a Persons jumper. For the rest of the first half, neither team led by more than four.

The Bobcats shot just 37.7 percent in the game, including 34.4 percent in the second half. They were solid from the outside, going 8 of 18, and from the foul line at 14 of 17. Entering with a field goal percentage well over 50 percent, Laster, Ohio’s leading scorer, was just 5 of 17.

Ball State shot 50 percent in the game to overcome 14 turnovers and a 12-of-19 performance at the foul line.

Ohio plays Kent State at 7 p.m. Friday at the MAC Center. The game will be shown on CBS Sports Network.

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