Menís Hoops Travels to Face MAC West Rival Broncos
The Ball State men's basketball team visits Western Michigan for a 2 p.m. contest Sunday on the Ball State Sports Network.
It will be the first game against a Mid-American Conference West Division opponent for Ball State (4-12, 1-4 MAC), which is coming off its first league win of the year against Buffalo. Western Michigan (10-7, 3-2 MAC) is coming off a road win at Kent State.
Ball State’s coaches will be wearing sneakers for the game as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Weekend to raise awareness in the fight against cancer. They will also join the rest of the league in wearing pins to honor Akron director of basketball operations Dan Peters, who is battling pancreatic cancer.
Ball State at Western Michigan
Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. ET -- University Arena (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
• Television: Ball State Sports Network; Vince Welch (play-by-play); Jerry Peirson (analyst). Affiliates: WIPB-TV (Muncie), HTSN, Comcast 247, Brighthouse 410 (Indianapolis), WHME 46 (South Bend), WANE 15.2 (Fort Wayne), WJTS 18 (Jasper)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); David Eha (analyst)
• Internet: Live video and audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats available at wmubroncos.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State is coming off its first Mid-American Conference win, a 71-68 victory over a Buffalo team that entered the week tied for the best MAC record.
• Senior forward Chris Bond recorded his fifth career double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guard Jesse Berry came off the bench to score 21.
• Senior center Majok Majok is one of 14 players in the country averaging a double-double at 10.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
• A preseason All-MAC West Division selection, Majok ranks 15th in the nation in rebounding.
• As a team, Ball State leads the MAC in rebounding margin during conference play at +4.8
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 12.4 points and 3.6 assists per game.
• Bond (11.8 ppg), who has scored double figures in six straight games, and Berry (10.3) are also averaging double figures.
• For the season, freshmen have accounted for better than 42 percent of the Cardinals’ minutes and scoring.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule, which has been rated as high as No. 16 in the country this season, currently checks in at No. 49 according to Jeff Sagarin.
Scouting Western Michigan
• Western Michigan (10-7, 3-2 MAC) is coming off a 75-59 win Thursday at Kent State.
• The Broncos’ other league wins have come over Toledo (87-76) and Miami (78-77 in overtime), while their losses have come to Eastern Michigan (56-37) and Bowling Green (69-64).
• David Brown leads the MAC in scoring at 18.8 points per game, while Shayne Whittington (14.3) and Connar Tava (12.2) are also averaging double figures.
• Whittington is also averaging 8.7 rebounds, third in the league behind Ball State’s Majok Majok and Buffalo’s Javon McCrea.
• Western Michigan is holding opponents to 39.6 percent shooting for the year and 29.8 percent from 3-point range.
• The Broncos are scoring 71.1 points per game and allowing 66.4 to their opponents.
The Series with Western Michigan
• Ball State and Western Michigan will be meeting for the 118th time in a series that dates back to 1931.
• Indiana State (127 meetings) is the only team Ball State has played more in school history.
• Western Michigan holds a 59-58 edge in the all-time series and owns a 38-19 lead in games played in Kalamazoo.
• Ball State owns a 6-5 lead in the series over the past five seasons.
• Ball State won both meetings last year with a 65-62 victory in Muncie (Feb. 9, 2013) and an 89-85 win in Kalamazoo (March 5, 2013).
• The Cardinals’ win at Western Michigan was their first road victory in the series since 2005.
Suits and Sneakers
• James Whitford and the Ball State staff will be wearing sneakers Sunday in support of Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend.
• A collaborative effort of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society, the weekend is designed to raise awareness in the fight against cancer.
• The University of Akron announced on Dec. 14 that Director of Men’s Basketball Operations Dan Peters began a personal leave of absence to seek treatment for pancreatic cancer.
• As part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend, the Ball State men’s basketball staff will wear lapel pins with a purple ribbon – the color for pancreatic cancer awareness – and the words “4 Pete’s Sake” in support of Coach Peters and his battle against pancreatic cancer.
• These pins will be worn by the men’s basketball coaches of every school at which Peters has worked, as well as every school in the MAC.
• The media, members of the college basketball community and fans are encouraged to tweet about “Pete” using the hashtag #4PetesSake.
Cardinals Excel on the Boards
• Ball State’s biggest strength this season has been rebounding.
• The Cardinals own a +4.3 average rebounding margin for the season, which ranks third in the MAC behind only Toledo (+5.1) and Northern Illinois (+4.8).
• In league play, Ball State has been the MAC’s top team in terms of rebounding margin at +4.8.
• The Cardinals have outrebounded each of their past eight opponents, including all five in conference play.
Bond Picking up His Scoring
• Senior forward Chris Bond is averaging a career-high 11.8 points per game in his final season for the Cardinals.
• Bond has been especially effective of late, recording six straight double-figure scoring games and averaging 14.7 points per game over that stretch.
• He scored a career-high 20 points earlier this year against Southeast Missouri and has reached 16 points in five games, including Thursday against Buffalo.
Cardinals Add Mid-Year Transfer Jeremiah Davis
• Ball State has added Cincinnati transfer and former Muncie Central High School standout Jeremiah Davis to its roster.
• He will practice with the Cardinals during the spring semester, though he will not be immediately eligible able to play in games because of NCAA transfer rules.
• His family lost its Muncie home to a fire in November, and he sought to transfer after completing the fall semester at Cincinnati.
• Davis averaged nearly eight minutes per game as a freshman in 2011-12 for a Cincinnati team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He was limited to four games last season because of a wrist injury for which Cincinnati has requested a medical hardship.
• Davis helped Muncie Central to conference and sectional championships in 2009-10. He then moved on to Huntington (W. Va.) Prep for one season before heading to Cincinnati.
Majok Named Jan. 6 MAC West Player of the Week
• Senior center Majok Majok was named the Jan. 6 MAC West Division Player of the Week after averaging 21.5 points and 16.0 rebounds over two games the previous week against James Madison and Oakland City.
• It was the first player-of-the-week honor for Ball State this season and the third of Majok’s career.
Majok One of the Nation’s Best on the Boards
• Senior center Majok Majok leads the MAC and ranks 15th nationally in rebounding at 10.2 boards per game.
• He owns 10 double-digit rebounding games, including a career-best 18-rebound effort Jan. 3 against Oakland City. The 18 rebounds against Oakland City are the most in a game by a MAC player this season.
• Majok led the MAC last year and ranked 18th nationally at 9.8 rebounds per game.
Majok Majok’s Double-Doubles
• Majok Majok is averaging 10.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as one of 14 players in the country averaging a double-double.
• The last Ball State player 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.
• Majok owns six double-doubles on the year and 15 for his two-year Ball State career, including a 16-point, 13-rebound performance in the Jan. 8 MAC opener against Akron.
• With 25 points and 18 rebounds in the non-conference finale versus Oakland City, Majok became the first Ball State player with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Terrance Chapman did it in a January 2005 game at Eastern Michigan.
• For his two-year Ball State career, Majok is averaging 10.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Ball State’s Iron Man
• Senior forward Chris Bond has made 47 consecutive starts dating back to the last game of the 2011-12 season.
• Bond is the only Ball State player to start every game this season and was one of only two (Jauwan Scaife) to start all 30 a year ago.
• He has started 85 games in his career, including all 74 in which he has played over the past three seasons.
Bond Keeping Good Company
• Chris Bond now owns career totals of 873 points, 519 rebounds and 136 steals.
• In surpassing 500 career rebounds Jan. 15 at Ohio, Bond became only the second player in Ball State history with at least 800 points, 500 rebounds and 125 steals in a career.
• Bonzi Wells (1994-98) is the other. He ended his career with 2,485 points, 843 rebounds and 347 steals.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 12.4 points and 3.6 assists per game.
• He has reached double figures a team-high 11 times this season, including a career-best 24-point output Jan. 18 against Miami.
• 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 at the Stripe
• Zavier Turner ranks second in the MAC and 20th nationally with a .895 free throw percentage, having made 51 of his 57 attempts from the charity stripe.
• Turner was leading the country as recently as two weeks ago. He did not get to the line Thursday against Buffalo.
• He had a streak of 27 consecutive made free throws earlier this year.
Turner from Beyond the Arc
• Zavier Turner ranks third in the MAC in 3-point percentage (.436) and third in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.1).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in seven of the Cardinals’ 16 games, including a career-high four against Marquette and Miami.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks in the top 20 in the MAC in minutes per game (32.1, 6th), assists per game (3.6, 7th) and points per game (12.4, 17th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories (including the ones in the previous note).
Turnovers Telling the Story
• Ball State has been prone to high turnover numbers this season, but the Cardinals limited their turnover total to 14 in Thursday’s win over Buffalo.
• The Cardinals are turning the ball over more than any team in the MAC at 16.7 per game.
• Ball State has held its turnovers to 13.5 per game in its wins compared to 17.8 in its losses.
• The Cardinals turned it over a season-low 10 times in the Jan. 3 victory over Oakland City and a season-worst 23 times in the Dec. 17 loss at Marquette.
Alstork’s Big Night at Kent State
• Jan. 11 at Kent State, Mark Alstork became the first player since 2008 to lead Ball State in points, rebounds and assists in a game. Alstork finished with career highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds and matched his career best with five assists.
• The last Ball State player to accomplish the feat was Peyton Stovall on Jan. 16, 2008 against Western Michigan. Stovall led the team with 18 points and tied for team-high honors with seven boards and one assist.
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 42 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.
• Here is a statistical breakdown of the Ball State freshmen and seniors ...
Persistent Crowder Gets His Chance
• Ball State walk-on senior guard Kindon Crowder has seen action in six of the past nine games. He played a season-high 14 minutes off the bench Feb. 18 versus Miami.
• Crowder is a former team manager for the Cardinals who first earned a roster spot as a practice player a year ago.
• He played high school basketball his freshman year at St. Francis de Sales in Chicago but did not play his final three seasons at Munster High School in Indiana.
Berry Reaches 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State.
• He now owns 1,085 career points, the most of any current Ball State player.
• Berry is 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 matched his career-high with six 3-pointers Dec. 30 at James Madison.
• Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 189 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 550 3-point attempts.
• Former Ball State teammate Jauwan Scaife set the school record for 3-pointers last year, finishing his career with 203 treys. Patrick Jackson (1998-2002) is second with 202.
Varying Lineup Combinations
• Ball State has utilized seven different starting lineup combinations through its first 16 games.
• Nine different Ball State players have started at least one game.
• Chris Bond has started all 15 games, while Turner and Majok have each made 14 starts.