SOUTH BEND, Ind.– With 1.7 seconds left and a tied game at 77-77, the pressure was on for Ball State to win the game and Tayler Persons came through in the most clutch of moments, draining a three-pointer to lift the Cardinals over #9 Notre Dame 80-77.
Persons finished with 24 points, in probably one of the greatest moments of his Ball State career. Persons shot 10-for-19 on field goals, including 2-for-5 from distance in 33 minutes of action. You could really tell that he was the heart and soul of this Cardinals team, and was the leader on the court for Ball State.
Tahjai Teague added 13 points and 8 rebounds, while Sean Sellers scored 11 while adding 7 rebounds. Kyle Mallers also contributed with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block.
Moments that Mattered
Ball State right from the start had the momentum, shocking the Irish with a 34-29 lead at halftime. For the first 20 minutes of action, they looked solid and simply outplayed Notre Dame. Many thought Notre Dame would win with a great second half, but the Cardinals really locked down with a physical mentality to help earn them the well-deserved win.
Late into the second half, Ball State really took the momentum of Purcell Pavilion when they led by a game-high 67-58 with 6:45 to go. Notre Dame caught back up with the 77-77 tie but did not rattle the Cardinals and especially Tayler Persons. Persons knocked down the perfect 3-pointer off the dribble for the victory, not allowing enough time for Notre Dame to travel down the court.
“I think we stayed relaxed because as a team, I think we’ve grown a lot,” Persons said. “We know how to play in any moment, and it was rocking in there and that’s a fun environment for anyone to be in.”
Ball State Celebrating after the Game
Ball State will have 3 days off, before facing Valparaiso at home in Muncie on Saturday at 2:00 PM Eastern.
This story will be updated.