Herald Photo / William Gibson
TO THE HOOP  — Ball State University sophomore Tayler Persons moves the ball across the court.
Herald Photo / William Gibson TO THE HOOP — Ball State University sophomore Tayler Persons moves the ball across the court.
Kokomo High School graduate and Ball State University sophomore Tayler Persons helped lead the Cardinals to its second consecutive Mid-American Conference West Division co-championship, following an 87-82 victory over Northern Illinois. 

Franko House scored 22 points in his final home game to lead the Cardinals on Senior Night. Persons had 14 points and eight assists, while senior Ryan Weber and Trey Moses added 12 points each.

After the game, Persons earned Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week honors and was named to the All-MAC Second Team. He averaged 22.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game last week to earn the POW honors.

In the NIU game, Persons became the first Ball State player ever to surpass 500 points and 150 assists in a season. The point guard finished the week with 13 assists and just four turnovers. He wrapped up the regular season second in the MAC in assists per game (5.0) and eighth in scoring (16.2).

The Cardinals finished as part of a four-way tie for the second-best record in the overall league standings. They earned the No. 4 seed and a bye in next week’s MAC Tournament based on tiebreakers, in large part because their 9-1 record against the division put them ahead of Western Michigan.

Ball State wrapped up the regular season at 20-11 (11-7 MAC) and finished tied atop the West Division with the Broncos. It is the first time the Cardinals have won back-to-back division championships since the divisional format was implemented in 1998.

BSU also reached the 20-win mark in consecutive seasons for the first time since the early 1990s. The Cardinals finished the regular season by winning five of their final six games.

Ball State will play March 9 in the MAC Tournament quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The Cardinals will play at approximately 2:30 p.m. against the winner of Monday’s first-round game between No. 5 seed Western Michigan and No. 12 Miami.