MUNCIE, Ind. — Payton Sparks scored 22 points to lead Ball State, including the game-winning free throw with two seconds remaining in overtime, and the Cardinals knocked off Eastern Michigan 91-90 on Friday night.
Sparks scored at the basket with 17 seconds left to put Ball State in front, 88-87, and Mickey Pearson Jr. added two free throws and Sparks hit the first of two from the line to give the Cardinals a four-point lead. Tyson Acuff hit a 3 at the buzzer for Eastern Michigan to set the final margin.
Sparks also had 15 rebounds and three blocks for the Cardinals (16-7, 7-3 Mid-American Conference). Jarron Coleman scored 18 points while shooting 5 for 15 (5 for 11 from 3-point range) and 3 of 4 from the free throw line, and added 10 rebounds and five assists. Jaylin Sellers shot 7 for 11, including 2 for 4 from beyond the arc to finish with 17 points.
The Eagles (6-17, 3-7) were led by Emoni Bates, who recorded 35 points and became the first Eastern Michigan player to have three 35-point games in one season since Earl Boykins had four in 1997-98. Acuff added 18 points for Eastern Michigan. In addition, Noah Farrakhan had 16 points and six rebounds.
Coleman scored 12 points in the first half for Ball State, who trailed 40-37 at the break. Ball State outscored Eastern Michigan by three points in the second half as the teams ended regulation tied 78-78. Mickey Pearson Jr. paced Ball State with six points in the overtime.
Both teams next play Tuesday. Ball State visits Central Michigan while Eastern Michigan visits Buffalo.