MUNCIE — Ball State’s men’s basketball team was looking to take down one of the MAC’s top teams at Worthen Arena for the second time three games.
Akron came into Friday night’s action a half game behind Toledo for the top spot in the standings. BSU had taken down Toledo with a big second half two weeks ago. This time it was the visiting team that surged after the break.
Ali Ali led five double-figure scorers for Akron in an 88-79 win to sweep the season series from Ball State (7-11, 5-8 MAC). Ishmael El-Amin scored 20 points to pace BSU, while Brachen Hazen scored a career-high 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
The Cardinals’ Luke Bumbalough, a sophomore from New Castle, played 29:49 of the contest and scored seven points on 2-of-3 from the field (1-of-2 on three-pointers) and 2-of-2 free throws, pulled down five rebounds, and had six assists and a steal. It was the second game in a busy stretch for the Cardinals after a 10-day hiatus.
Hazen scored in double figures for the fourth straight game and the 10th time this season. The redshirt senior post player scored 11 in the second half and raised his scoring average to a career-best 9.9 points per game.
Ball State held Akron two 34 percent shooting in the first half, but Akron rode its hot early shooting after the break to a startling 73 percent performance in the second half.