Story courtesy of Ball State Sports Information
Ball State 70, Toledo 68
TOLEDO, Ohio – Senior forward Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) scored the game-winning basket with 0.6 seconds left to lift the Cardinals to a 70-68 victory over Mid-American Conference over Toledo Tuesday night at Savage Arena. The Cardinals out-scored the Rockets 10-4 over the final 1:59 with numerous clutch plays down the stretch to improve their record to 10-4 on the season and 2-0 in MAC play.
“I’m really proud of our guys for executing down the stretch and finding a way to get a tough road victory,” head coach Billy Taylor said. “Toledo has a really good, young ball club that plays hard all game long. I feel fortunate we were able to scratch out a win as we shot the ball well from distance and the inside play of Jarrod Jones was terrific tonight.”
Toledo (8-8, 0-2 MAC) took a 64-60 lead with 1:59 left in the game as Julius Brown hit a free throw to give the Rockets their largest lead of the game. Sophomore guard Jesse Berry (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson) started the rally as he drove down the lane and nailed an acrobatic show while getting fouled. Berry calmly hit the ensuing free throw to pull within one at 64-63 with 1:21 left in the game.
After Toledo scored on a Richard Wonnell basket to take a 66-63 lead, redshirt sophomore Tyler Koch (Winchester, Ind./Wright State) was next in line for the big shot. Koch got the ball in the corner and after a shot fake drilled his only shot of the game, nailing a clutch three-pointer to tie the game for the 10th time at 66-66.
Ball State stepped up on the defensive end and came up with a stop before Jones was fouled with 27.5 seconds. He came through and hit both free throws to give the Cardinals a 68-66 lead. Toledo responded after a timeout and tied the game with 6.5 second left as Reese Holliday scored off a Brown drive to knot it at 68-68.
Ball State called a timeout with 6.5 seconds left and drew up the game-winning play. The Cardinals got the ball into senior point guard Randy Davis’ (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) hands on the run and he drove the length of the court. Davis coolly dished the ball off to Jones in the paint and he was able to score the game-winning basket with just 0.6 seconds left in the game to send the Cardinals to victory.
“I knew there were six seconds on the clock and coach drew up a great play,” Jones said. “Randy got the ball down the court quickly and the last thing I wanted to do was mess up his great pass. I knew my teammates were counting on me so I just had to catch it and put it in the rim.”
Jones continued his MAC Player of the Year caliber season as he finished with a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds. The game marked his eighth game this season of at least 20-plus points and his second straight in MAC play. He finished the game shooting 7-of-11 from the field and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
Berry provided the offense from the back court as he scored 18 points in 21 minutes off the bench. He connected on 6-of-11 from the field, including five three-pointers, while also grabbing four rebounds.
Ball State finished the game shooting 50 percent (23-of-46) from the field and 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from three-point land. The 10 three-pointers ties the Cardinals’ season-high as they reached double figures against Texas Southern (11/29/11).
Davis ended the night with six points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals in the all-around effort as he led Ball State to 16 assists overall in the victory. Junior guard Jauwan Scaife (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) returned after missing one game due to an irregular heartbeat and scored seven crucial points, with six coming on two second half three-pointers.
Toledo shot 44.6 percent (25-of-56) from the field in the loss and just 30 percent (6-of-20) from long range. The Rockets hit 12-of-15 (80%) from the free throw line as Rian Pearson led the charge with 19 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and three assists.
The evenly matched first half saw the teams traded baskets back-and-forth with the lead never getting more than four points either way in the first 20 minutes. Berry was the offensive catalyst in the first half as he scored 12 points, nailing his first four three-pointers of the game. Toledo countered with Pearson who scored 13 first half points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from the line.
Ball State went into the locker room with a 33-31 lead as Jones nailed a three-pointer with 22 seconds left. He scored seven points in the first half while also grabbing a team-high four rebounds.
Ball State connected on 48.0 percent (12-of-25) from the field in the first half and 60 percent (6-of-10) from long range. The Rockets countered with 48.0 percent shooting of their own (12-of-25) but hit just 25 percent (2-of-8) from long range.
Ball State returns to Worthen Arena Saturday afternoon as it hosts Eastern Michigan. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.