#2 Seed Ball State Advances on to the MAC Finals, 70-67

Updated 3/6/2000
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    CLEVELAND (March 6)(AP) -- Patrick Jackson hit a late 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and Duane Clemens scored a career-high 35 points as Ball State moved into the championship of the Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 70-67 semifinal win over Ohio Monday night.

    Jackson's 22-footer had just left his hand when the buzzer sounded, but it swished through with 1:02 remaining to give the Cardinals (21-8) a five-point lead.

    Ohio (20-13) cut it to 68-67 with 6.2 seconds left on Steve Esterkamp's basket. But Cardinals reserve Rob Robbins, who had attempted seven free throws all season, made two and Bobcats forward Shaun Stonerook dribbled the ball of his foot and out of bounds with 1.5 seconds to play.

    Ball State, the tourney's No. 2 seed, will play No. 9 seed Miami of Ohio with the winner earning the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid. The RedHawks pulled off their third upset of the tournament in the first semifinal, knocking off No. 5 seed Marshall 69-63.

    Miami's Jason Stewart made a conference record 10 3-pointers to pace the RedHawks (15-14).

    Ball State and Miami split their two matchups during the regular season with both games going to overtime. The Cardinals lost at Miami in 3 OTs and the RedHawks lost in Muncie, Ind., in one OT last month.

    Clemens had one of his worst games of the regular season against Ohio, but the senior guard more than made up for it by slashing to the hole for some spectacular layups.

    However, his missed free throws down the stretch allowed Ohio to stay close, and the Cardinals hung on despite shooting 20-of-35 from the line.

    Stonerook led the Bobcats with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Sanjay Adell added 18 for Ohio, which shot just 34 percent from the floor but grabbed

    47 rebounds, including 19 on the offensive end.

    Clemens, who didn't score in the first half of Ball State's quarterfinal win against Toledo, had 19 in the first 20 minutes as the Cardinals took a 31-27 lead at the break.

    The Bobcats were lucky to be that close. Ohio shot just 27 percent from the floor and scrapped their way back in it by controlling the boards and making Ball State work on every offensive possession.

    Ball State point guard Mickey Hosier had to leave the game with 9:24 remaining after he was accidentally head butted by Ohio's Dustin Ford. Hosier was trying to get inside position on a free throw when his head collided with Ford's chin.

    Hosier was taken to Ball State's locker room to get checked. Ford suffered a cut chin but got bandaged and stayed in.