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Ball State moves atop Mid-American with 71-66 win

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Ball State hit 8 of 9 free throws in the final two minutes Saturday to beat Northern Illinois 71-66 and take over first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division.

The Cardinals (13-11, 7-5) moved a half-game ahead of Central Michigan, which hosts Toledo on Sunday. Ball State and Central Michigan meet Wednesday in Muncie, Ind.

Ball State overcame a 30-point, 10-rebound performance by Xavier Silas, who was the only Northern Illinois player in double figures. The Huskies (8-16, 4-8) have lost eight straight games in conference play.

Randy Davis had 20 points, Jarrod Jones 16 and Pierre Sneed 11 for Ball State, which avenged a 62-48 loss to Northern Illinois earlier this season.

Davis hit two free throws with 1:06 left to put the Cardinals on top for good, 66-64. On the ensuing possession, Darion Anderson missed two free throws for Northern Illinois.