Ball State players celebrate beating Notre Dame for the first time in program history. (Matt Cashore/USA Today Sports)

Ball State had the ball with 24 seconds left in a tie game. On their final possession of regulation, the Cardinals needed to score to stun No. 9 Notre Dame.

Any basket would have done, but Tayler Persons opted for the dramatic. After biding his time at the top of the key, Persons pulled up for three with a defender’s hand in his face. A miss would have deservedly drawn criticism for poor shot selection but the junior hit nothing but nylon.

The 80-77 win gave Ball State its first win in school history over its in-state rival and its first win over a ranked team since 2001. It was Notre Dame’s first nonconference home loss since 2013.

The Cardinals started the season 1-4, with close losses at Dayton and Bucknell before climbing back to .500 with three straight wins ahead of Tuesday’s visit to South Bend, Ind., which is 145 miles away from Ball State’s campus in Muncie. The win was improbable but still not the craziest upset in college basketball so far this season.

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