DEKALB, Ill. -- Sean Smith scored 20 points to lead Northern Illinois to a 56-55 Mid-American Conference win over Ball State Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies took a slim 23-21 lead into the break and were up by as much as 10 with 9:21 left before Ball State (13-14, 7-7) closed the gap.
Dzepina sunk a free throw to make it 56-51 with 2:34 left, and while Brandon Lampley scored four more in the game's final moments, it wasn't enough to seal the deal.
Lampley led the Cardinals with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Laron Frazier had 14 points and five rebounds.
The Huskies shot 43.1 percent, compared with 46.7 percent for the Cardinals. Northern Illinois struggled from 3-point range, making just 3-of-18 tries.