MBB Continues Tough Stretch Wednesday with Valpo
The Ball State men’s basketball team will play its second consecutive Horizon League opponent when the Cardinals welcome Valparaiso for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday at Worthen Arena.
The game will be televised by Ball State Sports Link and will air throughout the state on Comcast Indiana 81. Additionally, Comcast 61 in Muncie will air the game, and the broadcast will be streamed live for free on ballstatesports.com.
The Cardinals (2-4) are in the middle of a challenging stretch of their non-conference schedule and enter Wednesday’s contest looking to snap a three-game losing streak. Valparaiso (5-4) has won three of its past four games, all of which have been at home.
Ball State vs. Valparaiso
Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. -- Worthen Arena (Muncie, Ind.)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); David Eha (Analyst)
• Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Luke Martin (play-by-play), Sean Stewart (analyst) & Petar Hood (sidelines)
• Television: Ball State Sports Link (Comcast Indiana 81); Tyler Bradfield (play-by-play), Dillon Welch (analyst) & Ryan Bickford (sidelines)
• Internet: Ball State Sports Link streaming video (free) and live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats also available at ballstatesports.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State dropped to 2-4 on the season with a 78-55 loss Saturday at Cleveland State.
• Ball State’s four losses have come against teams with a combined record of 20-7: Utah (6-0), Butler (5-2), Indiana State (5-2) and Cleveland State (4-3).
• Senior center Majok Majok leads the Mid-American Conference with three double-doubles and an average of 11.0 rebounds per game. His rebounding average ranks 12th in the country.
• Majok, who had a streak of three straight double-doubles snapped Saturday at Cleveland State, is averaging 9.8 points and 11.0 rebounds for the season.
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 14.2 points and 3.8 assists per game.
• Seniors Jesse Berry (13.5 ppg) and Chris Bond (11.3 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
• Berry surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career Saturday at Cleveland State to become the 27th member of Ball State’s 1,000-point club.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• The Cardinals are in the midst of a stretch in which they play five out of six games on the road. Wednesday’s game against Valparaiso is the team’s only home contest in the month of December.
• Valparaiso is 5-4 on the year after splitting a pair of home games over the weekend.
• The Crusaders lost a three-overtime battle Friday to Mercer, 117-108, and then rebounded for a Saturday win over Cincinnati Christian, 94-58.
• Valpo is coming off a four-game home stand. The Crusaders also beat James Madison and UCF in that stretch to win three of the four games.
• Alec Peters (15.6 ppg) and LaVonte Dority (15.4 ppg) lead Valpo in scoring, while Jordan Coleman (12.4 ppg) and former Indiana transfer Bobby Copabianco (10.2 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
• Peters and Alabama transfer Moussa Gueye game are each averaging 5.0 rebounds per game to lead Valparaiso on the boards.
• The Crusaders are scoring 86.0 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from 3-point range as a team.
The Series with Valparaiso
• Ball State and Valparaiso will be playing for the 60th time, with the Cardinals owning a 31-28 lead in the series.
• There was a 14-year break in the series until the 2006-07 season, but the teams have since met four times. The former Indiana Collegiate Conference rivals have split those four contests with each team winning twice on its home floor.
• Valparaiso won the most recent meeting, 69-52, Dec. 28, 2010.
• Ball State holds a 21-11 advantage in games played in Muncie, including 12 straight home wins over the Crusaders dating back to 1968.
• The Cardinals posted an 88-78 win the last time the teams played at Worthen Arena, Nov. 13, 2009.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule so far is ranked No. 31 in the country according to WarrenNolan.com.
• The Cardinals’ four losses this season have come against teams with a combined record of 20-7.
• Utah is 6-0 entering a Tuesday road game at Boise State.
• Indiana State is 5-2 with a pair of one-point losses to Belmont and Tulsa, while Butler is 5-2 with a two-point loss to No. 5 Oklahoma State and an overtime loss to LSU.
• Cleveland State is 4-3 on the year.
• The challenging stretch continues with the next two games against Valparaiso (5-4) and Marquette (5-3).
The Friendly Confines
• Ball State has performed significantly better at home than on the road. The Cardinals are 2-1 in Worthen Arena and 0-3 away from Muncie.
• Offensively, the Cardinals are scoring 72.7 points per game at home compared to 65.7 per game on the road.
• Defensively, Ball State has limited opponents to 39.0 percent shooting and 65.0 points per game at home while surrendering 58.0 percent shooting and 82.7 points per game on the road.
• The Cardinals are out-rebounding opponents by an average of 13.7 at home and being out-rebounded by an average of 5.3 on the road.
• Ball State saw much of the country last week over the Thanksgiving holiday, traveling to play road games Wednesday at Utah and Saturday at Cleveland State.
• Wednesday’s game with Valpo is the only home game for the Cardinals in December and the only home contest in a six-game stretch.
• Ball State will take a break for final exams and then head back on the road for the remainder of the month to play at Marquette (Dec. 17), Southern Illinois (Dec. 21) and James Madison (Dec. 30).
Majok One of the Nation’s Best
• Senior center Majok Majok leads the MAC and checks in tied for 12th nationally with 11.0 rebounds per game.
• He has recorded five 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.
Majok Majok’s Double-Doubles
• Majok Majok had his streak of three straight double-doubles snapped at Cleveland State.
• He is nearly averaging a double-double through six games at 9.8 points and 11.0 rebounds.
• Majok has 12 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.
• 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.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 14.2 points and 3.8 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 led the Cardinals with 15 points last Wednesday at Utah and had now scored at least 15 in four of Ball State’s six games.
Turner’s Shooting Numbers
• Zavier Turner leads the Mid-American Conference in free throw percentage (.950) and ranks third in the league in 3-point percentage (.533).
• He has made all but one of his 20 free throw attempts and sunk 16 of 30 from beyond the arc.
• Turner leads the MAC in made 3-pointers per game with an average of 2.7.
• He has hit at least three 3-pointers in four of the Cardinals’ six games.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks among the top 12 in the MAC in assists per game (3.8, 7th), minutes per game (31.7, 8th) and points per game (14.2, 12th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories except for scoring (Eastern Michigan’s Raven Lee leads at 15.3 ppg).
Berry Reaches 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career in Saturday’s game at Cleveland State.
• Berry’s final basket of the night, a second-half 3-pointer, gave him 10 points for the game and 1,001 for his career.
• He became 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 from Downtown
• Jesse Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 171 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 489 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.
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 freshmen have stepped in to make an immediate impact, accounting for more than 40 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.
• Freshman Zavier Turner leads the team in scoring with 14.2 points per game, while freshmen also rank first and second on the team in assists -- Turner 23 and Quinten Payne 13. Freshman Franko House is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game.
Rebounding Telling the Story
• Ball State has held a double-digit rebounding advantage in both of its wins this season, but the Cardinals have been out-rebounded in each of their four losses.
• The team has held an average rebounding margin of +19.5 in its wins over Taylor (53-25) and Southeast Missouri (46-35).
• In the four losses, Ball State has been out-rebounded by an average margin of 3.5, though never by more than seven in a single game.
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.
Out of the Shadows
• Ball State Sports Link, an immersive learning sports production program, is producing a monthly show this season, taking viewers behind the scenes of Ball State men’s basketball.
• The show, titled “Out of the Shadows,” premiered Friday on WIPB in Muncie with the first episode focusing on the first 72 hours of the James Whitford era. It will also air on Comcast 81 in Indiana and nationally on Fox College Sports.
• Additionally, the first episode is available now on ballstatesports.com and on the BSUSportsLink YouTube channel.
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.