With the clock winding down in regulation, Ball State's lead was slipping away.
The Cardinals led for the entire second half, but Central Michigan senior guard Braylon Rayson hit a fade away 3-pointer to tie the game 90-90 with 18 seconds left. On the next possession, Ball State missed a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Cardinals and Chippewas traded baskets until sophomore guard Tayler Persons fought through a double team to find junior forward Sean Sellers for the 3-ball to give Ball State a 97-94 lead.
"That was a big play," head coach James Whitford said. "He was trapped on the baseline, and if we would have panicked it would of been a turnover, but he got out of it and kicked out to [Sellers] for a huge three."
Ball State men's basketball (17-10, 8-6 MAC) did not look back, hanging on to defeat Central Michigan (16-11, 6-8) 109-100 in its second consecutive overtime game.
Ball State stats:
Field goal percentage: 52.1
3-PT percentage: 38.7
Leading scorer: Tayler Persons - 32
Central Michigan stats:
Field goal percentage: 36.8
3-PT percentage: 30.4
Leading scorer: Marcus Keene - 40
"For us to come on the road here and get back to back road wins is huge for us," Whitford said.
Seven different Cardinals scored double-digit points, including a career-high 32 from Persons. Sophomore forward Trey Moses added a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Junior guard Francis Kiapway scored 18 points after missing the second half of Ball State's last game with a bruised hip.
"He [Kiapway] really helped of on both ends," Whitford said. "He was dealing with a hip and he was throwing up at halftime because of the exhaustion and heat in the gym."
After two straight overtime road games, the Cardinals return to Worthen Arena Tuesday for the second matchup with Mid-American Conference West Division foe Eastern Michigan.
Whitford said he's ready to get back home.
"This was a hard stretch for us," Whitford said. "We have a very good Eastern Michigan team coming home on Tuesday."