MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's basketball team returns to action from a nine-day holiday break, hosting Norfolk State for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday at Worthen Arena.
It will be the final tuneup before conference play for the Cardinals (5-6), which are looking to bounce back from a 77-68 loss to IUPUI in their most recent action. Norfolk State (6-9) dropped a 74-63 decision at East Carolina its last time out.
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Play-by-play: Joel Godett; Analyst: David Eha
• Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Play-by-play: Sean Stewart; Analyst: Donnie Kolakowski, Tyler Bradfield
• Internet: Live video, live audio and live stats at ballstatesports.com
• Wednesday's meeting will be the first ever between Ball State and Norfolk State in men's basketball.
• Norfolk State will be Ball State's third first-time opponent in the past six games.
• The Cardinals also played Holy Cross (Ind.) and South Dakota for the first time earlier this year.
• Wednesday's game is the final contest for Ball State before opening Mid-American Conference play next Wednesday at Eastern Michigan.
A Quick Look at the Cardinals
• Ball State has been off since a Dec. 23 loss to IUPUI that dropped the Cardinals to 5-6 on the year.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife scored a season-high 21 points for Ball State, but the Cardinals could not put the clamps on a hot-shooting IUPUI team.
• Ball State shot a season-high 48 percent from the floor, but IUPUI connected on 51.9 percent, including 11 of 22 from 3-point range against a Cardinals team that had held its previous six opponents to a combined 25 percent from beyond the arc.
• The Cardinals out-scored IUPUI in the paint, 40-20, and held a 33-24 advantage on the boards.
• Junior forward Chris Bond scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds against IUPUI, while Tyler Koch added 10 points and grabbed seven boards in his most extensive action since returning to the lineup from injury.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry -- a preseason All-Mid-American Conference selection -- leads the Cardinals with 13.6 points per game, while junior forward Majok Majok is one of 19 players in the nation averaging a double-double with 11.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.
• Majok, who leads the MAC and ranks in the 11th in the country in rebounding, had a streak of five straight double-figure rebounding games snapped against IUPUI.
Scouting Norfolk State
• Norfolk State is 6-9 on the season and comes to Muncie looking to snap a four-game losing skid.
• All four of those losses have come on the road, and two of them came at ranked opponents -- then-No. 10 Illinois and then-No. 25 NC State.
• The Spartans then lost at Iona and most recently at East Carolina, 74-63, on Saturday.
• Junior guard Pendarvis Williams leads Norfolk State in scoring at 11.8 points per game, while backcourt mate Malcolm Hawkins is adding 11.5 points per game.
• Freshman forward Rashid Gaston, the current MEAC Rookie of the Week, is scoring 8.9 points and grabbing a team-best 6.7 rebounds per game.
• Williams is the only returning starter from last year's Norfolk State team that finished 26-10 and upset No. 2 seed Missouri in the NCAA Tournament round of 64.
• Majok Majok owns four double-doubles this season and is one of 19 players in the nation averaging a double-double at 11.5 points and 10.7 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 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.
• The No. 18 junior college prospect in the country by JucoJunction.com coming out of Midland, Majok leads the Mid-American Conference double-doubles.
Majok on the Glass
• For the season, Majok ranks 11th nationally and leads the Mid-American Conference at 10.7 rebounds per game.
• Majok's 46 rebounds over Ball State's games vs. Holy Cross (Ind.), home against South Dakota and at South Dakota, 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.
Same Starting Five
• Ball State has used the same starting lineup in each of its first 11 games.
• Guards Jesse Berry and Jauwan Scaife, forwards Chris Bond and Majok Majok and center Zach Fields have each started every game.
Scaife Closing in on 1,000
• After scoring a season-high 21 points the last time out against IUPUI, senior guard Jauwan Scaife now owns 944 career points.
• The local product from Muncie Central High School needs just 54 more points to become the 26th member of Ball State's 1,000-point club.
Posley the Scorer
• Freshman guard Marcus Posley has emerged as a scoring threat recently. Posley, who is averaging 12.6 points per game over his past five outings, had a streak of four straight double-figure scoring games snapped against IUPUI.
• Posley, who College Sports Madness named the MAC Player of the Week Dec. 17, scored a career-best 20 points in the Dec. 15 game South Dakota. For the season, he ranks fourth among the Cardinals at 7.9 points per game.
Posley the Distributor
• Marcus Posley leads the Cardinals with an average of 2.9 assists per game.
• His 2.3 to 1 assist/turnover ratio would rank third in the MAC, but he just misses out on the assist minimum to qualify.
• 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.
• If you throw out his one-assist, five-turnover performance against Cleveland State, Posley has recorded 31 assists and just nine turnovers in the other 10 games.
Berry's Explosive Performances
• Junior guard Jesse Berry, who leads Ball State with 13.6 points per game, topped the 20-point mark for the third time this season with his 22-point effort Dec. 18 at Purdue.
• Berry scored a career-best 28 points Nov. 28 against Cleveland State and went for 22 in the Cardinals' Dec. 15 game at South Dakota.
• Berry, who has led the Cardinals in scoring five times this year, has now surpassed 20 points in a game five times in his career.
• He earned the second MAC West Division Player of the Week award of his career after a 17-point performance in the season opener against Grambling State.
Koch Returning to Form
• Junior forward Tyler Koch saw his most extensive action of the season in the last outing against IUPUI, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
• Koch saw his first action of the season Dec. 15 at South Dakota after missing the first eight games recovering from a hand injury and has played in each of the past three games.
• 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.
Getting to the Line
• As a team, the Cardinals are getting to the free throw line 25.3 times per game.
• BSU has shot 67 more free throws than its opponents (278-211) for the season.
• Junior forward Majok Majok is shooting an average of 6.9 free throws per game. He attempted double-digit free throws in three straight games earlier this year -- Wofford (10), Indiana State (11) and Indiana (12).
High Volume Rebounding
• Junior forward Matt Kamieniecki is averaging 0.35 rebounds per minute, having grabbed 47 rebounds in his 135 minutes on the court.
• Kamieniecki's per-minute average is the best on the team, slightly leading Majok Majok (0.34). Majok ranks 11th nationally in rebounding.
• Kamieniecki matched his career high with nine rebounds in 16 minutes Nov. 25 at Indiana.
Bond Stealing the Show
• Junior forward Chris Bond ranks tied for third in the Mid-American Conference in steals with an average of 2.0 per game.
• Bond had a career-high five steals Nov. 20 against Wofford and has recorded four steals in two other games.
Scaife's Career Numbers
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife, who is scoring 10.5 points per game this year, owns the most career points among the current Ball State players with 944.
• Scaife has moved into fifth place on Ball State's career 3-pointers list with 145.
• He recently moved past his cousin and former Ball State star Bonzi Wells (1994-98) and is now nine treys shy of Chris Williams (2001-03) for fourth on the all-time list.
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.
• The 6-foot-10 Fields, who has lost 30 pounds in an effort to make a greater impact, is averaging 17.5 minutes per game this year after never logging more than 5.4 minutes per game previously.
• While Ball State returns only six letterwinners from a season ago, those six players have now combined to play in 382 games with 192 starts for the Cardinals.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is the most experienced, having played in 101 games (74 starts).
• Junior guard Jesse Berry (73 games, 26 starts), junior forwards Chris Bond (69 games, 50 starts), Matt Kamieniecki (56 games, 11 starts) and Tyler Koch (30 games, 22 starts), and senior center Zach Fields (53 games, 11 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).
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.
The Non-Conference Schedule
• Wednesday's game with Norfolk State is Ball State's final tuneup for the MAC schedule.
• The Dec. 15 game at South Dakota marked Ball State's only trip outside the state of Indiana before conference play. The Cardinals will play eight of their first 12 games at home and have made three trips to in-state opponents -- Indiana (Nov. 25), Butler (Dec. 1) and Purdue (Dec. 18).
• Two of Ball State's home games have come against Indiana State (Nov. 20) and IUPUI (Dec. 23), giving the Cardinals five games against in-state Division I programs.
• Ball State had never before faced Big 10 opponents Indiana and Purdue in the same season.
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).
Home Sweet Home
• Earlier this season, Ball State played its 300th game at Worthen Arena.
• The facility, formerly known as University Arena, opened Jan. 15, 1992 for that season's Mid-American Conference home opener against Miami University. Ball State won the game, 70-64.
• The Cardinals own an all-time record of 221-84 at the facility for a .725 winning percentage.
• Since its first full season in Worthen, Ball State has averaged 10.85 home wins per year.
• Wednesday's game against Norfolk State is Ball State's only contest in a 17-day period.
• The Cardinals have been off since their Dec. 23 game with IUPUI and will be off again until their Jan. 9 MAC opener at Eastern Michigan.