Eastern Michigan 51, Ball State 48
CLEVELAND (AP)—Jesse Bunkley scored 15 points and Brandon Bowdry added nine points and 15 rebounds to help Eastern Michigan hold off Ball State 51-48 Wednesday and move into the quarterfinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament.
It was the Eagles’ first MAC tournament victory since they won the championship in 1998.
Eastern Michigan (13-18) led by as many as 15 in the first half behind Bunkley’s five 3-pointers, but committed 25 turnovers and nearly let Ball State steal a win.
Despite not scoring for the first six minutes of the second half, the Cardinals rallied behind Skip Mills and Anthony Newell, who finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Micah Rollin hit a free throw with 51 seconds left to cap a 7-0 run and pull Ball State (9-22) within 49-48.
Devon Dumes and Bowdry each split a pair of free throws for Eastern Michigan, giving Ball State a final chance with 12 seconds left. Newell missed on a deep 3-pointer and Bunkley pulled down the rebound, then spiked the ball in celebration.
Justin Dobbins scored 11 and Jarred Axon 10 for Eastern Michigan, which will face top-seeded Toledo on Thursday.
It was the sixth straight loss dating back to Feb. 17 for the Cardinals, who lost to the Eagles twice during the regular season.
Ball State shot just 26 percent and was outrebounded 45-33. Mills, scored 13 points in his final game, including nine in the second half.