Menís Hoops Visits Utah Wednesday on Pac-12 Network
After three straight at home, the Ball State men’s basketball team heads West to play Wednesday at Utah in the first of two Thanksgiving week road games.
Wednesday’s contest tips off at 8 p.m. MT (10 p.m. ET) from the Huntsman Center and will air live on the Pac-12 Network, channel 537 on Comcast cable in Muncie.
The game is a matchup of two teams formerly coached by the late Rick Majerus, who passed away nearly a year ago. It is also a return for the Cardinals to the site of two of the biggest wins in program history in the first two rounds of the 1990 NCAA Tournament.
Ball State (2-2) pushed Butler on Saturday before ultimately falling, 59-58, while Utah (5-0) won three games at its home tournament over the weekend. After Wednesday’s game, Ball State will travel to Cleveland State to play Saturday.
Ball State at Utah
Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. MT (10 p.m. ET) -- Huntsman Center (Salt Lake City, Utah)
• Television: Pac-12 Network (Channel 537 on Comcast cable in Muncie); Paul Sunderland (play-by-play), Matt Muehlebach (analyst)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play)
• Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats available at utahutes.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State is 2-2 on the season after dropping a 59-58 decision Saturday against rival Butler.
• The Cardinals held an 11-point advantage in the second half against Butler, but the Bulldogs rallied to take the lead and survived a Ball State attempt at the buzzer.
• The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Ball State, which previously posted victories over Taylor and Ohio Valley Conference West Division co-favorite Southeast Missouri.
• Senior center Majok Majok led all players with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Butler game for his second straight double-double and his 11th in 34 career games at BSU.
• Majok, a preseason All-Mid-American Conference pick, is averaging 10.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 15.3 points and 4.3 assists per game.
• Seniors Jesse Berry (14.5 ppg) and Chris Bond (12.3 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Berry is 22 points away from joining Ball State’s 1,000-point club.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford, who was hired from Arizona in April.
• The Cardinals played three of their first four games at home, including the past three in a row, but they will play five of their next six on the road starting at Utah.
• Utah is 5-0 on the season, having played every game at home.
• The Utes won three games in three days over the weekend at their own Global Sports Hoops Showcase, taking down Grand Canyon (79-54), Lamar (84-57) and Savannah State (71-57).
• Utah is scoring 91.2 points per game, shooting 54.5 percent as a team and winning by an average margin of 36.8 points.
• Jordan Loveridge leads four Utes averaging double figures with 17.8 points per game, followed by Delon Wright (13.6), Brandon Taylor (10.8) and Renan Lenz (10.6).
• Loveridge also leads Utah on the boards with 11.8 rebounds per game.
The Series with Utah
• Ball State and Utah have met just one time previously, a first-round NIT contest in Salt Lake City in 1992.
• The Utes emerged from that game with a 72-57 win, March 19, 1992.
• Dick Hunsaker was the Ball State coach, and he squared off that day with his former boss Rick Majerus, who was in his third season at the helm of the Utes after two years as the Ball State head coach.
• Hunsaker later served as an assistant on Majerus’ Utah staff, as well.
• Ball State and Utah are connected by a common head coach in the late Rick Majerus, who passed away Dec. 1, 2012.
• Majerus led the Cardinals for two seasons (1987-89), going 43-17.
• In his second season, he guided the program to a 29-3 record (the best in school history), a MAC Championship and the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory.
• Majerus then left Muncie to take the head coaching position at Utah.
• He coached Utah from 1989-2004, posting a 323-95 record, taking the Utes to 10 NCAA Tournaments and leading them to the national championship game in 1998.
• Ball State will face another team formerly coached by Majerus next month when the Cardinals visit Marquette on Dec. 17.
All-Time Versus the Pac-12
• Ball State is 2-4 all-time against Pac-12 opponents. Utah, which is in its third year as a Pac-12 member, was not part of the league at the time of its 1992 meeting with the Cardinals.
• Ball State’s wins over the Pac-12 came against Oregon State, 54-53, in the first round of the 1990 NCAA Tournament and UCLA, 91-73, in the second round of the 2001 Maui Invitational.
• The Cardinals’ most recent meeting with a Pac-12 team came in the 2011-12 season opener at Arizona.
• The associate head coach of that Arizona team was James Whitford, who is now in his first season as the Ball State head coach.
• The Cardinals led by 11 points early in the second half of that game before the Wildcats rallied for a 73-63 victory.
• Ball State’s 1992 NIT game versus Utah is one of three games the Cardinals have played in the Huntsman Center.
• The other games -- two of the most memorable in Ball State history -- came in the 1990 NCAA Tournament.
• The Cardinals defeated Oregon State, 54-53, in the first round, March 15, 1990. Paris McCurdy completed a 3-point play with no time on the clock to send Ball State to the second round.
• The Cardinals then beat Louisville, 62-60, to advance to the Sweet 16, where they fell to eventual national champion UNLV.
Whitford versus the Utes
• Ball State first-year head coach James Whitford was 5-0 against Utah as an assistant coach.
• He coached against the Utes once in the NCAA Tournament as an assistant at Miami University and four times over the past two years in Pac-12 games as the associate head coach at Arizona.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 15.3 points and 4.3 assists per game.
• Turner became the first Cardinal with at least 17 points and at least four assists in the first three games of a season since Larry Bullington in 1973-74 and just the second to accomplish the feat since Ball State began tracking assists in 1973.
• He became the first Ball State freshman with at least 17 points in the first three games of a season since Jim Fields in 1975-76 and just the second since freshmen became eligible for varsity competition in 1972.
• Turner’s streak of 17-point, four-assist games came to an end when he scored eight points and handed out three assists Saturday against Butler.
• Zavier Turner has nailed 12 of his 19 attempts from 3-point range to lead the Mid-American Conference in 3-point percentage (.632).
• He also leads the MAC in made 3-pointers per game with an average of 3.0.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks among the top 10 in the MAC in free throw percentage (.929, T-2nd), assists per game (4.3, 5th), minutes per game (31.8, T-7th) and points per game (15.3, 10th).
Majok Majok’s Double-Doubles
• Senior center Majok Majok has recorded double-doubles in his past two games with 11 points and 12 rebounds versus Southeast Missouri followed by 15 points and 11 boards against Butler.
• Majok now has 11 double-doubles in his two seasons at Ball State.
• He ranked third in the MAC with nine double-doubles last year in his first season at Ball State and nearly averaged a double-double for the season at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Majok on the Glass
• Majok Majok leads Ball State and ranks second in the MAC with 10.5 rebounds per game.
• He has recorded three straight double-digit rebounding games, including a 16-rebound effort against Taylor that was one shy of his career high.
• He led the MAC last year and ranked 18th nationally at 9.8 rebounds per game.
Crashing the Boards
• Ball State leads the MAC this year with a +9.0 average rebounding margin and 40.2 rebounds per game.
• The Cardinals, which were third in the league in rebounding margin last year, held a dominating 53-25 advantage on the boards Nov. 12 against Taylor.
• Ball State features two of the top five rebounders in the MAC in Majok Majok (10.5, 2nd) and freshman forward Franko House (7.5, 5th).
Youth and Experience
• Ball State’s lineup this season is heavy on both experience and youth.
• There are only two scholarship players on the Cardinals’ roster outside the freshman and senior classes, so those two classes account for the majority of the minutes on the floor.
• Ball State’s freshman class is accounting for 43.3 percent of the team’s minutes, 42.6 percent of its points, 68.3 percent of its assists and 34.2 percent of its rebounds.
Whitford Era Underway
• James Whitford, who was introduced April 10, 2013 as the 19th head coach in program history, earned his first career win in the Cardinals’ 73-53 victory Nov. 12 over Taylor.
• Whitford came to Ball State after serving the previous eight years on the staff of Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona, including the past two as the Wildcats’ associate head coach.
• He also has previous MAC experience with 11 years on the staff at Miami University under head coaches Herb Sendek and Charlie Coles.
• During his career as an assistant coach, Whitford’s teams posted an overall record of 400-208 and reached the postseason 13 times, including 10 NCAA tournament appearances.
Berry Closing in on 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry is just 22 points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
• Berry would become the 27th member of Ball State’s 1,000-point club. Former teammate Jauwan Scaife, now a graduate student manager for the Cardinals, became the 26th member last season.
• Berry went for 23 points in the season opener at Indiana State. He has now reached the 20-point mark in 10 games for his career, including seven times last year as a junior.
Berry from Downtown
• Jesse Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 167 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 474 3-point attempts.
• Former Ball State teammate Jauwan Scaife set the school record for 3-pointers last year, finishing his career with 203 treys.
• Berry shot a career-best 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season and raised his percentage to 41.2 during MAC play.
Kamieniecki to Miss Season
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki will sit out the season after undergoing wrist surgery. He will redshirt this season and return to the floor as a fifth-year senior in 2014-15.
• Kamieniecki has played in 74 games through his first three seasons at Ball State. He averaged 4.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a junior, starting 11 of the final 16 games after being limited by injury in the first half of the season.
• At this point, Kamieniecki will be the only senior on next year’s Ball State roster.
Returning for the Cardinals
• The loss of Matt Kamieniecki leaves Ball State with six returning letterwinners from last year, four of which are seniors -- center Majok Majok, guard Jesse Berry and forwards Chris Bond and Tyler Koch.
• Majok led the MAC and ranked 18th nationally in rebounding last year. He averaged nearly a double-double at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• Berry is the team’s top returning scorer. He ranked second on last year’s team at 12.8 points per game, trailing only departed senior Jauwan Scaife’s 16.6 points per game.
• Ball State’s two additional returning letterwinners are both sophomores in forward Bo Calhoun and guard Chase Brogna.
Relying on Young Talent
• Ball State brought in a class of four scholarship freshmen, all of whom are averaging at least 16 minutes per game.
• Freshman Zavier Turner, an all-state point guard from Pike High School in Indianapolis, is being asked to shoulder much of the ball handling load for the Cardinals.
• The class of scholarship newcomers also includes guards Mark Alstork from Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton and Quinten Payne from North High School in St. Charles, Ill., along with post player Franko House from Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind.
Majok Tabbed Preseason All-MAC
• Majok Majok was named to the preseason All-MAC West Division Team in a vote of media from around the league. He was joined in the West Division by Toledo’s Rian Pearson and Julius Brown, Western Michigan’s Shayne Whittington and Eastern Michigan’s Glenn Bryant.
• The preseason All-MAC East Team consisted of Buffalo’s Javon McCrea and Will Regan, Akron’s Demetrius Treadwell and Quincy Diggs, and Miami’s Will Felder.