After the first game of the day in which Central Michigan women dazzled the home crowd against Toledo, the men kept things going strong into the evening in their conference matchup with visiting MAC West leader, Ball State.
Trailing the Cardinals by just a game in the division, both teams seemed to be riding different strategies to success in the first half.
Ball State got into the lane early and often on multiple floating layups or jumpers and a great post performance by senior forward Tahjai Teague that was more impressive than his stat line would indicate as several trips to the line came up mostly empty. Central struggled to stop the efficient tendencies of the Cardinals throughout much of the first half.
Central Michigan on the other hand struggled inside the arch for much of the first half, but traded every few buckets with a three point dart that kept things close. CMU ended the half with a 33-27 lead.
The second half opened up as both teams were able to establish the fast break on a few occasions that led to rim crushing dunks. CMU established a firm grip on things midway through the second half, but stalled as they began to allow things to run deep into the shot clock offensively. The strategy did not pay off and momentum began to shift rather quickly back in favor of the Cardinals who went on a 11-3 run that got them as close as two points after appearing to be without any answer for the Chippewas.
Perhaps the biggest difference maker was forcing Ball State to make uncharacteristic mistakes who tallied a shocking 28 turnovers in the game. The Chippewas improve to a tie in the MAC West with Ball State and a 10-1 record at home this season. Dallas Morgan led the Chippewas with 21 points. Tahjai Teague led the Cardinals with 17.
CMU travels on the road to face Miami Ohio for the second time this MAC season after defeating the Redhawks by 11 earlier this month at McGuirk.