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Cardinals and Bobcats tip-off Saturday at 11 a.m. on ESPNU in Athens.
Courtesy: BSU Photo Services

Men's Hoops Battles Ohio Saturday Morning On ESPNU

Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
Release: January 26, 2012
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What's On Tap . . .
Ball State continues its stretch of Mid-American Conference crossover games Saturday morning as the Cardinals travel to Athens, Ohio to take on the Ohio Bobcats ... Game time is set for 11 a.m. at the Convocation Center and will be nationally televised by ESPNU ... Mike Crispino and Bob Valvano will provide the call of the showdown between two 4-2 MAC teams.

Saturday's game will also be broadcast on 104.1 WLBC FM and online at ... Morry Mannies and Jeff Weller will provide the call.

Series History . . .
Saturday's game marks the 72nd meeting all-time between Ball State and Ohio ... The Cardinals trail the all-time series by a 39-32 margin ... The series has been evenly matched over the past 10 years as each team is 6-6 in the series and three out of the last four meetings have gone into overtime with the fourth meeting being a one-point contest.

For the past two seasons, the Cardinals and Bobcats have met twice, once in the regular season and once in the Mid-American Conference Tournament ... In 2009-10, Ball State posted 67-66 overtime victory in Athens for its first win on the road in the series since 1998 ... Ohio returned the favor that season with an 85-77 overtime victory at Worthen Arena in the first round of the MAC Tournament.

Last season was a reversal of fortunes in the series as Ohio took home a 61-60 victory during the regular season in Worthen Arena ... Ball State exacted revenge this time with a 76-73 overtime victory at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland in the quarterfinal round of the MAC Tournament.

In the Ohio victory last year, the Bobcats were led by DeVaughn Washington's 16 points while Nick Kellogg added 11 points ... Ball State was led by Jarrod Jones who scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Randy Davis chipped in 11 points and six assists ... In the MAC Tournament last year, the Cardinals rallied from a nine-point deficit with 2:42 left in regulation to force overtime ... Guard Jesse Berry scored 20 points as he was 5-of-9 from the field, including three three-pointers, and 6-of-8 from the free throw line ... Forward Chris Bond added 12 points, including a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays in the final 2:42 of regulation.  

In five career games against Ohio, Jones averages 13.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game ... In four career starts, Davis averages 13.3 points and 5.0 assists versus the Bobcats.

Cardinals Vs. The MAC East . . .
The 2011-12 season marks the 15th season the Mid-American Conference has been in two divisions (West & East) ... Ball State, which has always been a member of the West Division, owns a 42-52 record against the East Division since the two-division format was implemented in the 1997-98 season.

The Cardinals posted a 1-5 record against the East Division last season with their lone win coming against Buffalo ... Ball State has only posted a winning record against the MAC East Division three times in 14 years .. The Cardinals posted a 4-2 record in 2009-10, a 4-2 record in 2002-03 and a 5-1 mark during the 1997-98 campaign ... Ball State has recorded four .500 records against the East Division but have seven seasons below .500 against the East Division ... Ball State is 12-3 during the regular season against Buffalo, 7-4 against Bowling Green, 5-10 against Akron, 6-6 against Ohio, 4-8 against Kent State, 2-6 against Marshall and 6-15 against Miami since divisional play began.

Leading The Nation . . .
Senior guard Randy Davis leads all of NCAA Division I this season in assist/turnover ratio entering Saturday's  game at 3.72 ... Davis has handed out 108 assists this season while only committing 29 turnovers ... He has a 3.50 assist/turnover ratio in Mid-American Conference play with 28 assists and eight miscues ... His 3.7 ratio also leads the MAC in league games.

Davis was named the MAC West Player of the Week Monday for his efforts leading the Cardinals to road wins over Central Michigan and Northern Illinois ... He averaged 9.0 points, 8.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game ... Davis handed out 16 assists while only committing three turnovers in 62 minutes of action for the week for a 5.33 assist/turnover ratio .

Davis is second in the MAC at 6.0 assists per game ... Davis currently ranks 13th in NCAA Division I in assists per game ... Ball State as a team is second in the MAC with 14.3 assists per game ... The Cardinals are second in the MAC in assist/turnover ratio at 1.10, which 76th in the country.

Road Tripping With The BSU . . .
Saturday's game marks the fourth game in a stretch for the Cardinals in which they play four of five games on the road in Mid-American Conference play ... This is the first time since the 2006-07 season in which the Cardinals have faced a road stretch like this in MAC play ... Ball State won the first two road games during the stretch with wins at Central Michigan and Northern Illinois.

Ball State is one of three league teams this season that will play four road games in a five-game stretch ... Central Michigan is currently in a such stretch as it played at Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois prior to Wednesday's home game ... The Chippewas hit the road for two straight travelling to Western Michigan and Bowling Green ... Kent State also has a similar stretch as it plays at Ohio, Akron Toledo and Central Michigan while only hosting Northern Illinois in a five-game stretch.

Vote For Coach Taylor . . .
Ball State men's basketball head coach, Billy Taylor, is proud to support Athletes In Action by participating in Infiniti's ongoing partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NCAA and ESPN in the Infiniti Coaches' Charity Challenge ... The program includes a $100,000 donation to the winning coach's designated charity ... Expanding from 14 participating NABC coaches last season to 48 of the nation's top NCAA Division I Men's Basketball coaches this year, the total Infiniti contribution will be more than $300,000.  

Fan participation will determine the ultimate winner over an eight-week period beginning January 18th by registering and voting on a custom microsite on 

Coaching Comparison . . .
Ball State is led by fifth-year head coach Billy Taylor ... Taylor has led the Cardinals to 60 wins over the past four-plus seasons, including a 19-win campaign last year which marked the 11th most wins in program history ... The Cardinals have finished either first or second in the Mid-American Conference West Division the past three years and have advanced to the MAC Tournament semifinals two out of the last three years. 

Ohio is led by fourth-year head coach John Groce ... Groce led the Bobcats to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, including a first round victory over Georgetown.

Sears BracketBusters . . .
The 10th annual Sears BracketBusters, a three-day men's college basketball event pitting potential NCAA Championship hopefuls against each other Feb. 17-19, will feature 13 nationally televised games - on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3 ... The NCAA hopefuls will be selected from a pool of 142 teams from 16 conferences.

Ball State is participating for the 10th season in the BracketBusters event and will be a home team February 18 ... The 2012 matchups will be announced January 30.

Last Time Out . . .
Ball State suffered just its second home loss of the season Tuesday night as it dropped a 70-58 contest to defending Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Akron ... The Cardinals held a three-point halftime lead but only shot 30 percent (9-of-30) from the field and just 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from three-point land in the second half.

Senior forward Jarrod Jones continued is dominant play as he scored a game-high 25 points while grabbing nine rebounds ... Jones scored the game's first nine points and the Cardinals' first 12 points on his way to 17 first half points ... He connected on 9-of-16 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point land and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Senior guard Randy Davis was the only other Cardinal in double figures in the loss as he added 11 points and five rebounds ... Ball State only recorded four points from their bench, its lowest bench scoring output of the season.

Behind The Numbers . . .
Ball State is 9-0 this season when it scores at least 70 points and was 14-4 last season when reaching the 70-point barrier ... The Cardinals are 12-3 this season when leading at the half with their only losses coming at No. 16 Arizona, vs.  Eastern Michigan and vs. Akron ... Last season, the Cardinals were 12-2 when leading at the half ... Ball State is a perfect 9-0 this season when it hands out 15 or more assists ... Last year, the Cardinals were 10-2 when reaching at least 15 assists.

Ball State is 12-2 this season when it hits more free throws in a game than its opponent ... The two exceptions are at IUPUI (17-16) and against EMU (17-8) ... The Cardinals are also 10-4 this season when senior forward Jarrod Jones leads the team in scoring.

Scouting The Cardinals . . .
Ball State enters Saturday's game with a 12-6 overall record and a 4-2 mark in Mid-American Conference play ... The Cardinals are tied atop the MAC West Division with Eastern Michigan ... Ball State is averaging 66.3 points per game this season while allowing 58.8 points per game against ... The Cardinals are shooting 44.0 percent (401-of-911) from the field and 32.9 percent (116-of-353) from three-point land ... Opponents are shooting 38.2 percent (368-of-963) from the field and 30.3 percent (106-of-350) from three-point land.

Senior forward Jarrod Jones leads the team in scoring at 17.4 points per game and on the glass at 8.4 rebounds per game ... Jones is shooting 55.7 percent (112-of-201) from the field and 82.5 percent (80-of-97) from the free throw line ... Sophomore Jesse Berry is second on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game, all of the bench ... Berry leads the team with 27 three-pointers.

Senior guard Randy Davis leads the team with 108 assists ... Davis is fourth on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game ... Sophomore Chris Bond is second on the team on the glass at 4.4 rebounds per game ... Sophomore Tyler Koch is one of four Cardinals with at least 20 three-pointers as he has hit 25. 

Scouting The Bobcats . . .
Ohio enters Saturday's game with a 16-4 overall record and a 4-2 mark in Mid-American Conference play ... The Bobcats are tied for second place in the MAC East Division, trailing Akron by one game ... Ohio owns an 11-1 record at home this season with its lone loss comint against Robert Morris (70-67) ... The Bobcats are averaging 71.3 points per game this season while allowing 62.3 points per game ... Ohio is shooting 43.0 percent (511-of-1189) from the field and 33.2 percent (145-of-437) from three-point land ... Opponents are shooting 42.1 percent (427-of-1014) from the field and 28.9 percent (102-of-353) from distance.

Junior guard D.J. Cooper leads the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game and has dished out a team-high 111 assists ... Cooper has been to the free throw line a team-high 104 times, converting 73.1 percent ... Walter Offutt and Ivo Baltic are tied for second on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game ... Baltic is second on the team on the glass at 4.9 rebounds per game while Reggie Keely leads the Bobcats with 5.1 boards per game.

Ohio's 145 three-pointers lead the MAC and it has four players with at least 20 long range shots ... Nick Kellogg leads the team and is second in the MAC with 50 three-pointers (43.9).

Coming Off The Bench . . .
Sophomore guard Jesse Berry is second on the Cardinals in scoring at 9.8 points per game even though he hasn't started a game this year ... Berry has played all 18 games as a reserve and averages 22.4 minutes per game and has hit a team-high 27 three-pointers.

Berry is tied for third in the MAC in bench scoring among players who have started less than half the games they have appeared in this season ... Curtis Dennis of Toledo is averaging 12.5 points per game in 11 games off the bench after missing the first semester ... Akron's Nick Harney is second off the bench chipping in 9.9 points per game in 15 games as a reserve.

1.) Curtis Dennis, Toledo (12.5 ppg/11-0)
2.) Nick Harney, Akron (9.9 ppg/15-0)
3.) Jesse Berry, Ball State (9.8 ppg, 15-0)
 Quincy Diggs, Akron (9.8 ppg, 20-7)
 Brian Sullivan, Miami (9.8 ppg, 18-3)
6.) Reggie Keely, Ohio (9.1 ppg, 20-0)
7.) Chris Evans, Kent State (8.9 ppg, 19-2)

Cashing In The Freebies . . .
Ball State seniors Randy Davis and Jarrod Jones rank in the top five in the Mid-American Conference this season in free throw percentage, the only team with two players in the top five ... Davis is third in the MAC from the line, hitting 86.9 percent (53-of-61), while Jones is fifth in the conference at 82.5 percent (80-of-97).

Davis had a stretch of 26 straight free throws made snapped last game against Toledo ... He posted 22 straight on two different occasions last year ... The Ball State record for consecutive free throws made is 41 set by Larry Bullington in 1971-72.

Defensive Prowess . . .
The Cardinals have been one of the top defensive teams in the Mid-American Conference and the country under fifth-year head coach Billy Taylor and this season is no different ... Ball State enters the game leading the MAC and ranking 15th in NCAA Division I in scoring defense holding opponents to a 58.8 point per game average ... Also, the Cardinals lead the MAC in field goal percentage defense at 38.2 percent, which places them 10th in the nation ... Ball State is 21st in the country and third in the MAC in three-point field goal defense, holding opponents to 30.3 percent.

Last season, Ball State led the MAC and was 64th in the nation in scoring defense at 64.0 points per game while placing third in the league in field goal percentage defense at 42.0 ... Two years ago, the Cardinals also led the MAC in scoring defense and were 43rd in the nation at 62.4 points per game.

Jones' Scoring Numbers . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones leads the Cardinals and is second in the Mid-American Conference in scoring at 17.4 points per game ... Jones ranks 83rd in NCAA Division I in scoring this season ... He ranks 31st in the country in field goal percentage at 55.7 percent (112-of-201, which is third best in the MAC.

Jones has scored at least 20 points in nine of the 18 games this season, including three straight games for the first time in his career ... He scored 25 points against No. 16 Arizona in the season opener, scored a career-high 26 points against IUPUI and added 23 points against Calumet College ... He notched three-straight games of 20-plus points with 22 points against UT Martin ,  22 at SIU Edwardsville and 21 against Butler ... He has notched 19 games of 20-plus points in his career, including 25 points last time out against Akron.

Climbing The Charts . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones moved into eighth place in Ball State history with 1,495 career points and is fifth all-time with 872 rebounds ... Jones recently surpassed Steve Payne on the all-time scoring list and Bonzi Wells on the all-time rebounding list ... Additionally, Jones is tied for third all-time with 109 career starts (Duane Clemens) ... Senior guard Randy Davis moved up to fourth all-time in assists with 410, surpassing Scott Nichols.

6. Theron Smith, 1999-02 1,599
7. Duane Clemens, 1996-00 1,585
8. Jarrod Jones, 2008-11 1,495
9. Steve Payne, 1992-95 1,440
10. Peyton Stovall, 2003-08 1,383
11. Dan Palombizio, 1984-86 1,369

3. Steve Payne, 1992-95   885
4. Theron Smith, 1999-2002 882
5.  Jarrod Jones, 2008-11 872
6. Bonzi Wells, 1994-98   843

Game Started
1. Bonzi Wells, 1994-98 114
2. Peyton Stovall, 2003-08 113
3. Jarrod Jones, 2008-11 109
3. Duane Clemens, 1996-2000 109
5. Randy Zachary, 1993-97 100

2. Chris Shelton (1982-86) 481
3. Mike Spicer (1988-92) 430
4. Randy Davis, 2008-11 410
5. Scott Nichols (1986-90) 406
6. Bonzi Wells, 1994-98 386

Leading The MAC . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones is the Mid-American Conference career active leading scorer with 1,495 points and is the career active rebound leader at 872 boards ... Jones leads the active scoring leaders by 149 points as Kent State's Justin Greene is second at 1,346 points and Ohio's D.J. Cooper is third on the list at 1,338 points ... He also owns a 154-rebound lead as Greene is second on the active list at 718 rebounds ... Miami's Julian Mavunga is third on the list at 703 caroms.

Cardinals On ESPNU -- Twice . . .
In addition to Saturday's game, the Cardinals have also been chosen for an ESPNU national telecast for their game February 11 at Kent State ... Tip-off for that game is set for 11 a.m. at the M.A.C.C. in Kent, Ohio ... Both games are part of the MAC television package and were 21-day wildcard selections.

Additionally, the February 22 game at Western Michigan is also a STO broadcast ... The Cardinals also have one additional Ball State Sports Network broadcast after Saturday's game with their February 25 game at Eastern Michigan ... Ball State also has its February 8 game against Bowling Green being broadcast by BSU Sports Link.

Home, Sweet Home . . .
Tuesday's game marked the 292nd game all-time for the Cardinals at Worthen Arena since it opened January 15, 1992 (previously named University Arena) ... Ball State owns a 214-78 record all-time at Worthen Arena as it has won 73.0 percent of its games at home ... The Cardinals are 7-2 so far this season at home with wins over IUPUI, Calumet College, Texas Southern, Butler, Chicago State, Florida A&M and Western Michigan.

Last season, the Cardinals posted an 11-3 record at home, including a 5-1 mark during non-conference play ... During its career, the Cardinals have averaged over 10.35 wins a season at home at Worthen Arena.

Jones' Weekly Honors . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones has been named the Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week four times this season ... Jones is the only play in the MAC this season to earn multiple honors and has now garnered weekly accolades 10 times in his career.

Jones picked  up his most recent honor last week after leading the Cardinals to two victories, including a 78-69 win over preseason MAC West Division favorite Western Michigan ... He averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in the two victories.

Jones has picked up MAC West Player of the Week honors this season Nov. 14, Dec. 12 and Jan. 2.

Double-Dipping . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones has posted five double-doubles to raise his career total to 26 double-doubles ... Jones has accomplished the feat this season against Calumet College, Texas Southern, SIU Edwardsville, Florida A&M and Eastern Michigan.

Jones Earns Pre-MAC Honor . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones was named one of five All-Mid-American Conference selections by for his play in the pre-conference schedule ... Jones ranked second in the MAC in scoring at 18.1 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game ... He has earned MAC West Player of the Week honors three times this season, the only player in the league to win multiple honors. 

Joining Jones on the pre-conference team is Miami's Julian Mavunga, Ohio's D. J. Cooper, Buffalo's Javon McCrea and Toledo's Rian Pearson.

Davis - Cousy Award Candidate . . .
For the second year in a row, Ball State senior point guard Randy Davis has been named one of 59 candidates for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award ... The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in college basketball ... Davis is one of just two players from the Mid-American Conference (D.J. Cooper, Ohio) among the 2012 nominees and is just one of 12 players in the country that has made the exclusive list for two straight years

Lowe's Senior CLASS Award . . .
Senior forward Jarrod Jones has been selected as one of 30 candidates for the 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award given to basketball student-athletes who excel on and off the court ... Jones is the first Cardinal to be selected as a candidate since Peyton Stovall was a finalist for the 2007-08 award.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition ... The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot ... Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I men's coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

Cardinals Sign Four . . .
Ball State head coach Billy Taylor announced the signings of Michael Ramey (Indianapolis, Ind./Southport), Bo Calhoun (South Bend, Ind./Washington), Marcus Posley (Rockford, Ill./Rockford Auburn) and Mading Thok (Boyden, Iowa/Western Christian) to national letters of intent Friday morning during the early signing period.

Ramey, a 6-5 shooting guard, was recently ranked as a Top 25 Shooter in the country for the class of 2012 by after leading the state in three-point shooting as a junior, connecting on 52.4 percent (66-of-126) ... He averaged 19.5 points per game as a junior to earn First Team All-Conference honors.

Calhoun, a 6-6 forward, earned First Team All-Northern Indiana Conference honors last season after averaging 18.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game ...  He has led the Panthers to a 46-22 record during his first three seasons, including a 12-7 mark last season.

Posley, a 6-1 guard Illinois High School Association All-State honors as a junior as he
averaged 19.4 points per game and 4.5 assists per contest ... He also picked up All-Northern Illinois Conference and All-Area accolades last season.

Thok, a 7-0 center, is a native of Bor, Sudan ... He averaged 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a junior while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 67.6 percent from the free throw line.

Cardinals Tabbed Second . . .
Ball State has been picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference West Division preseason poll as selected by the MAC News Media Association ...  The Cardinals were picked to finish second in the MAC West Division with 111 points, including nine first place votes, behind Western Michigan (128/14) ... The Cardinals finished last season with a 19-13 overall record and a 10-6 mark in MAC play, finishing second in the West Division ... The Cardinals returns nine letterwinners, including its top five scorers, from last season's team which posted the 11th most wins in program history.

Rounding out the MAC West Division are Central Michigan (92/1), Toledo (76), Northern Illinois (59) and Eastern Michigan (38) ... Reigning MAC regular season champion Kent State was selected to win the East Division with 132 total points, including 16 first place votes ... Akron was tabbed second with 104 points and eight first place votes followed by Ohio (94), Miami (80), Buffalo (62) and Bowling Green (32).

Kent State was also selected to win the 2012 MAC Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio as it received 12 of the 24 votes ... Akron was second with six votes followed by the Cardinals (3), Western Michigan (2) and Central Michigan (1).

Captains Earn MAC Honors . . .
Ball State senior captains Jarrod Jones and Randy Davis were named to the preseason All-Mid-American Conference West Division teams last week ... The two Cardinals were joined by Western Michigan's Flenard Whitfield and Demetrius Ward along with Central Michigan's Trey Zeigler on the West Division squad.

Jones highlights the MAC West Division preseason team, earning preseason accolades for the third time in his career ... He earned First Team All-MAC and MAC All-Tournament honors last season as a junior when leading the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game and rebounding at 8.4 caroms per game ...He scored double figures in 27 of BSU's 32 games, including five games of 20-plus points last season while posting 11 double-doubles.

Davis earns preseason All-MAC honors for the first time in his career after starting all 32 games last season as the Cardinals' point guard ... He averaged 9.8 points per game while leading the team with 160 assists and 48 steals ... He led the MAC from the free throw line connecting on 87.3 percent (117-of-134) while placing second in assists per game (5.0).

Looking Ahead . . .
The Cardinals wrap up their tough road stretch Wednesday night as they travel to Buffalo, N.Y., to face the Bulls at 7 p.m. ... Ball State returns to home next Saturday afternoon as it hosts Miami at 4 p.m. at Worthen Arena.

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