Men's Hoops Visits MAC-Leading Akron Wednesday
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's basketball team visits the team with the best record in the Mid-American Conference on Wednesday when the Cardinals meet Akron for a 7 p.m. tipoff at Rhodes Arena.
Ball State (7-7, 1-1 MAC) is looking to bounce back from a 61-47 loss Saturday against Kent State, while Akron (11-4, 2-0 MAC) is coming off a 68-53 victory at Northern Illinois for its seventh straight win.
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Play-by-play: Joel Godett
• Internet: Live audio and stats at ballstatesports.com; live video at mac-sports.com
• Ball State trails by a slim 16-15 margin in the all-time series against Akron with the Zips having won the past eight contests to grab the lead.
• The series dates all the way back to 1937, though 27 of the 31 meetings have come since Akron joined the Mid-American Conference for the 1992-93 season.
• The Cardinals' last win over the Zips came by a 76-72 score in Muncie in March 2004.
• Akron won last year's meeting by a 70-58 margin in Muncie.
• The Zips have won nine of the previous 14 meetings with the Cardinals in Akron.
A Quick Look at the Cardinals
• Ball State enters the game at 7-7 (1-1 MAC) following a 61-47 loss Saturday to Kent State.
• Junior forward Majok Majok posted his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds in the loss, while Chris Bond scored 10 points and grabbed nine boards.
• Bond, who is tied for the MAC lead in steals, logged four of them for the second straight game in the Kent State contest.
• The Cardinals trailed the Golden Flashes by 18 points early in the second half but trimmed that deficit all the way to one before Kent State regained control.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry -- a preseason all-MAC selection -- leads the Cardinals with an average of 13.3 points per game.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife, who is 14 points away from the 1,000-point milestone for his career, has picked up his scoring of late and is averaging 11.3 points per game.
• Majok, who leads the MAC and ranks 16th nationally in rebounding, is one of 19 players in the country averaging a double-double at 10.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
• Wednesday's game is the first of back-to-back road contests for the Cardinals, which play three of their first four league games away from home.
• Akron comes into the game riding a seven-game winning streak that has improved its record to 11-4 (2-0 MAC).
• Ball State will be the third straight MAC West opponent for the Zips, which opened league play last week with a 65-43 home win over Western Michigan and a 68-53 road win at Northern Illinois.
• Zeke Marshall leads the attack for an Akron team that has nine players scoring at least 5.0 points per game. Marshall averages 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and a MAC-best 3.4 blocks per contest.
• Nick Harney (10.5 ppg) and Demetri Treadwell (10.3 ppg) are also averaging double figures, while point guard Alex Abreu ranks second in the MAC with 5.6 assists per game.
• Akron, which ranks near the top of the MAC in most categories, has the league's top scoring offense at 76.5 points per game and its second-best scoring defense at 62.7 points per game.
More on the Loss to Kent State
• Three days after shooting a season-best 58.5 percent in a win at Eastern Michigan, Ball State made 17 of 61 shots from the floor (27.9 percent), 5 of 23 from 3-point range (21.7 percent) and 8 of 24 from the free throw line (33.3 percent) in the loss to Kent State.
• Ball State held a 48-39 advantage on the boards against the Golden Flashes, including a commanding 23-8 margin on the offensive glass.
Scaife Closing in on 1,000
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife now owns 986 points for his Ball State career.
• The local product from Muncie Central High School needs just 14 more points to become the 26th member of Ball State's 1,000-point club.
• Before Saturday's loss to Kent State, Ball State won back-to-back games on its final possession.
• The Cardinals topped Norfolk State, 62-61, Jan. 2 when Jesse Berry drove the length of the floor with 6.3 seconds left and found Majok Majok for a buzzer-beating dunk.
• Jan. 9 at Eastern Michigan, Berry's pass went to Chris Bond, who drew a foul at the rim and made both free throws with less than one second left to lift the Cardinals to a 60-58 win.
Bond's Big Week
• Chris Bond turned in a pair of strong all-around performances last week, averaging 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.5 assists over Ball State's first two MAC games.
• In the Jan. 2 league opener at Eastern Michigan, Bond matched his career high with 18 points and knocked down the game-winning free throws in the final second.
• Bond finished the game a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor, the most efficient shooting performance in the league this year, to go along with four assists and four steals.
• Saturday against Kent State, Bond fell just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds, and he added four more steals.
Bond Stealing the Show
• Junior forward Chris Bond is tied for first in the Mid-American Conference in steals with an average of 2.2 per game.
• Bond is averaging 4.0 steals per game through Ball State's first two MAC contests.
• Bond had a career-high five steals Nov. 20 against Wofford and has recorded four steals in four other games, including each of the past two.
• Just 14 games into the season, Bond's 31 steals have already surpassed his previous career high of 29 steals as a sophomore last season.
Scaife Picking up his Offense
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife turned in the best three-game scoring stretch of his career over the final two non-conference games and the first league contest.
• Scaife averaged 19.0 points per game during that stretch with a season-high 21 against IUPUI and 18 against both Norfolk State and Eastern Michigan.
• Scaife knocked down 55.9 percent from the floor (19-for-34) and 57.9 percent from beyond the arc (11-for-19) over those three games.
Berry's Explosive Performances
• Junior guard Jesse Berry topped the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season and the third time in four games with his 21-point effort in the non-conference finale against Norfolk State.
• Berry, who leads Ball State with 13.3 points per game, scored a career-best 28 points Nov. 28 against Cleveland State.
• He went for 22 in back-to-back games Dec. 15 at South Dakota and Dec. 18 at Purdue.
• Berry owns six career 20-point games and has led the Cardinals in scoring six times this year.
• He has been the MAC West Player of the Week twice this season and three times in his career.
Scaife, Berry on Career Treys List
• With 22 treys this season, senior guard Jauwan Scaife has moved into fourth place on Ball State's career 3-pointers list with 155.
• Scaife recently moved past his cousin and former Ball State star Bonzi Wells (1994-98) and former Cardinal Chris Williams (2001-03) for fourth on the all-time list. He is six shy of Randy Zachary (1993-97) for third.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry has also climbed into the top 10 on that list. He now owns 124 career 3-pointers to rank ninth.
• Junior forward Majok Majok is one of 19 players in the nation averaging a double-double at 10.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.
• The last Cardinal to average a double-double in a season was Theron Smith, who tallied 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in 2001-02.
• The No. 18 junior college prospect in the country by JucoJunction.com coming out of Midland College, Majok leads the Mid-American Conference with five double-doubles.
• Majok was named the MAC West Co-Player of the Week Dec. 10 after averaging 13.5 points and 16.5 rebounds per game in wins over Holy Cross (Ind.) and South Dakota the previous week.
• With 18 points and 17 rebounds Dec. 5 against Holy Cross (Ind.), Majok became the first Ball State player since Cameron Echols in 2002 with at least 18 points and 17 rebounds in a game.
Majok on the Glass
• For the season, Majok ranks 16th nationally and leads the Mid-American Conference at 10.3 rebounds per game.
• Majok's 46 rebounds over Ball State's three games from Dec. 5 through Dec. 15 were the most in a three-game stretch by a Cardinal since Theron Smith grabbed 46 over three conference games from Jan. 5-12, 2002.
Posley the Distributor
• Freshman guard Marcus Posley leads the Cardinals with an average of 2.9 assists per game.
• Posley has reached five assists in four games this year, including a career-best six helpers without a turnover in the season-opening win over Grambling State.
• He has had only three games this season with more than two turnovers.
• His 1.86-to-1 assist/turnover ratio would rank among the MAC leaders, but he just barely misses out on the 3.0 assists-per-game minimum.
Koch Returning to Form
• Junior forward Tyler Koch is now six games into his return to the court after missing the first eight games of the season with a hand injury.
• Koch scored 10 points Dec. 23 against IUPUI and then added six points on a pair of key 3-pointers in the Jan. 2 win over Norfolk State.
• A former Wright State transfer, Koch started 22 games last year in his first season at Ball State. He scored 6.6 points and grabbed 3.3 rebounds per game.
High Volume Rebounding
• Junior forward Matt Kamieniecki is averaging 0.34 rebounds per minute, having grabbed 56 rebounds in his 165 minutes on the court.
• By comparison, Siena's O.D. Anosike, who is tied for the national lead with 11.9 rebounds per game, is pulling down 0.31 boards per minute.
• Kamieniecki matched his career high with nine rebounds in 16 minutes Nov. 25 at Indiana.
Getting to the Line
• As a team, the Cardinals are getting to the free throw line 23.2 times per game.
• BSU has shot 65 more free throws than its opponents (325-260) for the season.
• Junior forward Majok Majok (98 attempts) and junior guard Jesse Berry (73 attempts) have combined to shoot 171 free throws, more than half of Ball State's team total.
One of the Best in the West
• Ball State has finished among the top three in the MAC West Division in each of the past four seasons, including first- or second-place finishes in three of those years.
• The Cardinals tied for the division crown in 2008-09 and finished second in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. Last year, Ball State tied for third in the West.
• While Ball State returns only six letterwinners from a season ago, those six players have now combined to play in 399 games with 204 starts for the Cardinals.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is the most experienced, having played in 104 games (77 starts).
• Junior guard Jesse Berry (76 games, 29 starts), junior forwards Chris Bond (72 games, 53 starts), Matt Kamieniecki (58 games, 11 starts) and Tyler Koch (33 games, 22 starts), and senior center Zach Fields (56 games, 14 starts) also have a wealth of experience in the Ball State program.
• Of the eight newcomers on Ball State's active roster, seven are true freshmen. Here is a breakdown of the freshman class by position ...
• Guard -- Marcus Posley (Rockford, Ill./Auburn HS), Michael Ramey (Indianapolis, Ind./Southport HS), Chase Brogna (Houston, Texas/St. Thomas HS) and George Cater (St. Peters, Mo./Fort Zumwalt South HS).
• Forward -- Bo Calhoun (South Bend, Ind./Washington HS) and Rocco Belcaster (Berwyn, Ill./Morton HS).
• Center -- Mading Thok (Boyden, Iowa/Western Christian HS).
• Ball State's only non-freshman newcomer is Majok Majok (Perth, Australia/Midland College).
Fields Gets Smaller to Play Bigger Role
• After four years in the Ball State program, fifth-year senior center Zach Fields made his first career start in the season opener against Grambling State and has started every game since.
• Fields made the most of the opportunity in the opener, logging career highs with 10 points and eight rebounds. His previous career bests were four points and four boards.
• He scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting last week in the MAC-opening win at Eastern Michigan.
• The 6-foot-10 Fields, who has lost 30 pounds in an effort to make a greater impact, is averaging 18.1 minutes per game this year after never logging more than 5.4 minutes per game previously.
Locking Down on Defense
• Ball State has ranked first or second in the Mid-American Conference for scoring defense in each of the past four seasons.
• Here are the Cardinals rankings by year: 2008-09 (59.7, 1st), 2009-10 (62.4, 1st), 2010-11 (64.0, 1st), 2011-12 (60.7, 2nd).