Men's Basketball Hosts Eastern Michigan Wednesday
The Ball State men’s basketball team plays host to the top defense in the Mid-American Conference when Eastern Michigan visits Worthen Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday.
The game will be televised by Ball State Sports Link and will air on Comcast Indiana (channel 81) and Comcast Michigan.
Ball State (4-17, 1-9 MAC) and Eastern Michigan (13-10, 5-5 MAC) split two meetings last season. The Eagles enter Wednesday’s matchup first in the league in a number of categories, including scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.
Ball State vs. Eastern Michigan
Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. ET -- Worthen Arena (Muncie, Ind.)
• Television: Ball State Sports Link (live on Comcast Indiana 81 and Comcast Michigan); Play-by-play: Luke Martin; Analyst: Torey Fox; Sidelines: Connor Onion
• 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); Sean Stewart (play-by-play) & Petar Hood (analyst)
• Internet: Live video and audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats also available.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State continues its three-game home stand Wednesday against Eastern Michigan in the first of two meetings between the teams in the next month.
• The Cardinals are coming off an 80-73 loss to MAC leader Toledo in a game that was within a single possession in the final minute.
• Ball State has been balanced offensively with four players averaging 9.8 points per game or better: freshman Zavier Turner (12.4 ppg) and seniors Chris Bond (11.9), Majok Majok (11.2) and Jesse Berry (9.8).
• Majok owns eight double-doubles on the season and is one of 16 players nationally averaging a double-double at 11.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. His rebounding average ranks 18th in the country.
• Turner has moved into 10th place on Ball State’s all-time freshman scoring list with 260 points this year.
• Freshmen have accounted for better than 40 percent of Ball State’s minutes and scoring, and the Cardinals have started three rookies for much of the year.
• Ken Pomeroy rates Ball State’s non-conference schedule No. 37 in the country and its overall schedule No. 68. The Cardinals have played only four teams all season outside the Pomeroy top 200.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
Scouting Eastern Michigan
• Eastern Michigan (13-10, 5-5 MAC) enters play Wednesday third in the MAC West Division.
• All five of the Eagles’ league losses have come against teams contending in the MAC East: Akron (twice), Ohio, Buffalo and Miami University. Three of those losses came by four points or fewer.
• Eastern Michigan comes to Muncie fresh off a 70-53 win over Kent State.
• Junior college transfer Karrington Ward leads the Eagles with 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while Glenn Bryant (10.5) and Raven Lee (10.3) are also averaging double-figure scoring.
• Eastern Michigan tops the MAC team statistics in scoring defense (62.8 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.371), blocks per game (5.9) and steals per game (8.6).
• The Eagles played a challenging non-conference schedule that included games against Syracuse, Duke, Kentucky, UMass and Purdue.
The Series with Eastern Michigan
• Ball State and Eastern Michigan will be meeting for the 94th time with the Cardinals leading 54-39 in the all-time series.
• Ball State is 23-17 against the Eagles in Muncie and 11-9 inside Worthen Arena, although Eastern Michigan has won four of its past five road games in the series.
• The teams split their two contests last year with Ball State winning 60-58 in Ypsilanti, Mich. (Jan. 9, 2013) and Eastern Michigan claiming a 56-50 victory in Muncie (Feb. 16, 2013).
• Wednesday’s meeting is the first of two this season between the MAC West Division rivals. They will meet again at Eastern Michigan on March 4.
• Ball State’s non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 37 in the country by Ken Pomeroy, while its overall SOS is No. 68.
• The Cardinals have played only four teams all year rated outside Pomeroy’s top 200.
Home and Away
• Ball State has posted a 4-6 record at home this year but is still in search of its first road victory.
• The Cardinals’ shooting numbers have been virtually the same no matter where they play -- 40.0 percent at home and 39.7 percent on the road.
• The biggest difference has come on the defensive end of the floor, where Ball State is allowing opponents to shoot 50.2 percent overall and 39.8 percent from 3-point range on the road.
• At home, the Cardinals are holding opponents to 42.1 percent shooting and 24.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Cardinals Excel on the Boards
• One of Ball State’s biggest strengths this season has been rebounding.
• The Cardinals own a +3.3 average rebounding margin for the season, which ranks third in the MAC behind only Toledo (+4.9) and Northern Illinois (+3.6).
• In league play, Ball State has a +2.4 average rebounding margin, which also ranks third in the conference.
• The Cardinals have outrebounded all but three of their MAC opponents: Western Michigan (36-34) on Jan. 26, Akron (34-28) on Jan. 29 and Buffalo (37-33) on Feb. 5.
• Saturday Ball State held a 39-33 advantage against Toledo, which leads the league in rebounding margin.
Turnovers Telling the Story
• Ball State has been prone to high turnover numbers this season.
• The Cardinals are turning the ball over more than any team in the MAC at 17.0 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.
Finding Lineup Consistency
• Ball State used a different lineup for the first time in 11 games Saturday against Toledo when Jesse Berry started at the No. 2 guard instead of Mark Alstork.
• The Cardinals utilized six different lineups in the first 10 games of the season but then settled on the same one for 10 in a row. During that stretch, they started three freshmen -- guards Zavier Turner and Alstork and forward Franko House -- along with two seniors -- forward Chris Bond and center Majok Majok.
• Bond has started all 21 games this season, while Turner and Majok have each made 20 starts.
Bond Having His Best Season Yet
• Senior forward Chris Bond is averaging a career-high 11.9 points per game in his final season for the Cardinals.
• Bond has reached double figures in 11 of the past 13 games and averaging 13.0 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 six games.
Ball State’s Iron Man
• Senior forward Chris Bond has made 52 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 90 games in his career, including all 79 in which he has played over the past three seasons.
Bond Keeping Good Company
• Chris Bond now owns career totals of 935 points, 547 rebounds and 142 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.
Majok One of the Nation’s Best on the Boards
• Senior center Majok Majok ranks 18th nationally in rebounding at 10.0 boards per game. Only Buffalo’s Javon McCrea (10.2) averages more among MAC players.
• Majok owns 14 double-digit rebounding games this season, including a career-best 18-rebound effort Jan. 3 against Oakland City.
• Majok led the MAC last year and ranked 18th nationally at 9.8 rebounds per game.
Majok Majok’s Double-Doubles
• Majok Majok is one of 16 players in the country averaging a double-double at 11.2 points and 10.0 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.
• Majok owns eight double-doubles on the year and 17 for his two-year Ball State career.
• 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 10.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
Berry Nearing 3-Point Record
• Jesse Berry is closing in on the school record for career 3-pointers. He ranks third all-time with 196 makes and already owns the school record with 588 career 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.
• Berry matched his career-high earlier this season with six 3-pointers Dec. 30 at James Madison.
Berry Reaches 1,000
• Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State. He now owns 1,117 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, became the 26th member last season.
Turner from Beyond the Arc
• Zavier Turner ranks second in the MAC in 3-point percentage (.421) and third in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.1).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in nine of the Cardinals’ 21 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 (32.2, 6th), assists per game (3.2, 7th) and points per game (12.4, 18th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories (including the ones in the previous note).
Historical View of Turner’s Numbers
• Zavier Turner is climbing Ball State’s all-time chart for scoring by a freshman. He ranks 10th on the list with 260 points and is 15 points shy of Duane Clemens (1996-97) for ninth.
• Turner, who leads Ball State with 12.4 points per game, has reached double figures a team-high 15 times this season.
• Earlier this season, 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.
Alstork’s Big Night at Kent State
• Jan. 11 at Kent State, freshman guard 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 40 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.
Persistent Crowder Gets His Chance
• Ball State walk-on senior guard Kindon Crowder has seen action in 10 games, including nine of the past 14. 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.