Men's Basketball Withstands CMU for 95-90 Win
MUNCIE, Ind. -- Senior guard Jauwan Scaife scored a career-high 34 points Wednesday to lead the Ball State men's basketball team to its largest offensive output of the season in a 95-90 victory over Central Michigan.
With the home win at Worthen Arena, Ball State improved to 12-14 on the season and 5-8 in Mid-American Conference action. The Chippewas fell to 9-18 on the campaign and 2-11 in league play with the loss.
Scaife tied his career-high in 3-point field goals, finishing the night 8-for-12 from the floor, 6-for-10 from beyond the arc and 12-for-13 from the charity stripe. The All-MAC candidate topped the 30-point mark for the second time in the past five games.
Ball State juniors Chris Bond and Jesse Berry added 15 points on the night. Classmate Majok Majok tallied 10 points and finished just one rebound shy of his ninth double-double of the season to help the Cardinals to their fourth win in the past five games.
It was a night for shooting as both squads tallied field goal percentages above 50 percent in the fast-paced game. Ball State was 29 of 52 (55.8 percent) for the night, while Central Michigan made 31 of 59 (52.5 percent).
"We wanted to try to get the ball into the paint and then get our 3's off of that," Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. "I thought for the most part we did that. We did a great job getting the ball inside. We didn't finish all of them, but we still ended up with 30 points in the paint, and then our shooters really caught fire."
Ball State shot its second-highest percentage of the season on its way to reaching 90 points for the first time this year. The 95 points were Ball State's most in a conference game since scoring 96 against Eastern Michigan in January 2005.
Ball State held a 49-39 lead at halftime and then out-scored the Chippewas 10-3 over the first five minutes of the second half to build its largest lead at 59-44 with 15:13 to play.
Central Michigan did not go away quietly, utilizing its outside shooting to get back in the game. The Chippewas knocked down 14 3-pointers on the night, the most by any Ball State opponent this year.
CMU closed the gap all the way to two points at 92-90 with 19 seconds left. The Chippewas were forced to foul, and Scaife hit a pair of free throws. Kyle Randall couldn't convert in the lane on the next Central Michigan possession and Berry grabbed the rebound to secure the win before knocking down one final free throw.
"Central Michigan pushes the ball hard in transition, and the way they shoot the 3, they're never out of the game," Taylor said. "I would have liked to see us extend our lead instead of them getting back in the game, but I was proud of our guys for getting that cushion so we could absorb any run they made back at us."
Randall, the MAC's leading scorer in conference games, finished with 18 points for CMU on 6-for-15 shooting. Chris Fowler scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting while also handing out 13 assists. The Chippewas placed five total scorers in double figures.
With the win, Ball State took another step toward securing at least a first-round home game in the MAC Tournament. The Cardinals hold a two-game lead for the No. 8 seed and are still only a game out of being in a tie for the No. 4 position.
Ball State returns to action Saturday with a 2 p.m. road game at Toledo.