Persons' free throw lifts Ball State over NIU 72-71

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) Tayler Persons hit six 3-pointers and scored 29 points, including the game-winning free throw with two seconds left, and Ball State beat Northern Illinois 72-71 on Tuesday night to end a four-game skid.

The Cardinals led 27-25 at halftime and extended it to 45-34 on Persons' 3-pointer, but the Huskies closed to 47-45 after scoring six straight and led 56-55 on Lacey James' layup with 5:20 left. The lead changed hands until Trey Moses' 3-point play sparked a 9-0 run and Ball State led 66-59 on Josh Thompson's 3-pointer with 1:39 left.

NIU closed to 70-69 on Levi Bradley's second-chance layup and tied it at 71 on Eugene German's layup with four seconds to go before Persons made 1 of 2 foul shots for the win. Bradley grabbed the rebound with two seconds left but time expired.

Trey Moses added 22 points with 10 rebounds and Tahjai Teague scored 14 with 13 boards for Ball State (12-11, 3-7 Mid-American Conference), which made 18 free throws to the Huskies' eight.

German scored 17 points, Dante Thorpe had 15 and Bradley and James 12 each for NIU (12-11, 5-5).

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