KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Flenard Whitfield had 12 points to lead five Western Michigan players scoring in double figures in a 69-63 victory against Ball State in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament on Monday night.
Demetrius Ward scored 11 points and Matt Stainbrook, Hayden Hoerdemann and Shayne Whittington 10 each for the eighth-seeded Broncos (12-19), who play No. 12 seed Northern Illinois in a second-round game in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Jesse Berry had 19 points and Jauwan Sciafe 14 for the Cardinals (15-14).
Western Michigan was up 33-30 at halftime and led by 10 on Stainbrook's basket with 13:31 remaining. Jarrod Jones' jumper got Ball State within 63-61 with 33 seconds left, but the Broncos made 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to protect their lead.
The win gave Western Michigan a 58-57 edge in the schools' all-time series.