MBB Rides Hot Streak into Tuesday Game at WMU
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's basketball team visits rival Western Michigan for a 7 p.m. tipoff Tuesday at University Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The Cardinals have already secured at least a first-round home game in the Mid-American Conference Tournament and are still in the mix for a bye straight to Cleveland.
Ball State (13-14, 6-8 MAC) is coming off its third straight win, an 86-72 victory over Toledo, and is looking to sweep the season series with West Division-leading Western Michigan. The Broncos are coming off an overtime loss Saturday at Eastern Michigan.
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• Ball State trails the all-time series with Western Michigan by a single game at 59-58.
• The teams met last month in Muncie with Ball State winning 65-62 on Feb. 9 behind a 30-point effort from Jauwan Scaife.
• The Cardinals and Broncos have split the past 10 meetings evenly with each team winning all five on its home court.
• The last road team to win in the series was WMU in March 2008. Ball State's last road win over WMU came by a 66-65 score Jan. 22, 2005. The Cardinals are 18-38 vs. the Broncos in Kalamazoo.
A Quick Look at the Cardinals
• Ball State posted its third straight win and its fifth in the past six games with Saturday's 86-72 victory over Toledo.
• The Cardinals are 13-14 overall and sit in fourth place in the MAC West at 6-8 in league play.
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife, the MAC West Player of the Week, scored 28 points in the win over Toledo just three days after going for a career-high 34 against Central Michigan.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry finished with 22 points against the Rockets on 6-of-9 shooting, while Chris Bond scored 16 on 7-of-9 from the floor.
• Berry and Scaife combined for 10 3-pointers, and BSU shot 54.7 percent for the game.
• Scaife is averaging 25.7 points per game over the past six contests, and his 20.0-point scoring average in MAC play ranks second in the league.
• Scaife leads Ball State for the season at 16.0 points per game, followed by junior guard Jesse Berry at 12.7 per game and junior forward Majok Majok at 10.8.
• Majok, who leads the MAC and ranks tied for 17th nationally in rebounding at 9.9 boards per game, has spent much of the season averaging a double-double.
Scouting Western Michigan
• Western Michigan had a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 50-49 overtime loss at Eastern Michigan.
• The Broncos (18-10, 9-5 MAC) continue to lead the MAC West Division and have won 10 of their past 13 games.
• WMU features a balanced scoring attack with four players averaging between 10.7 and 12.3 points per game -- Shayne Whittington (12.3), Darius Paul (10.8), Nate Hutcheson (10.7) and David Brown (10.7).
• The Broncos rank second in the MAC in scoring defense at 62.5 points per game and are allowing only 60.2 points on average in conference play.
Last Time Versus Western Michigan
• Jauwan Scaife scored 30 points Feb. 9, including 24 in the second half, to help Ball State to a 65-62 victory over Western Michigan in the first meeting between the teams this season.
• Marcus Posley scored 15 points and Matt Kamieniecki added 10 as Ball State snapped Western Michigan's seven-game winning streak.
• The Cardinals shot 51.1 percent from the field (23 of 45), while the Broncos managed a 43.8 field goal percentage (21 of 48).
• Ball State turned the ball over only 12 times in the game and scored 23 points off Western Michigan's 20 turnovers.
• The Cardinals played the game without an injured Jesse Berry.
Scaife Again Named MAC West Player of the Week
• Jauwan Scaife was named Monday as MAC West Player of the Week for the second time in three weeks after averaging 31.0 points per game in Ball State's two wins last week.
• Scaife poured in a career-high 34 points Wednesday against Central Michigan and then went for 28 on the road Saturday at Toledo.
• For the two games, he shot 57.1 percent from the floor (16 for 28), 55 percent from 3-point range (11 for 20) and 82.6 percent from the free throw line (19 for 23).
• Ball State has posted its highest-scoring games of the season over the past three contests and is averaging 88.7 points per game over that stretch.
• The Cardinals scored 85 points Feb. 23 at Southeast Missouri, followed by 95 last Wednesday against Central Michigan and 86 Saturday at Toledo.
• It is the first time since the final three regular-season games of the 2002-03 campaign that Ball State has scored at least 85 points in three straight, while the 266 combined points are the most in a three-game stretch for BSU since December 2004.
• The 95 points against Central Michigan were the most for Ball State in a conference game since a 96-86 victory over Eastern Michigan in January 2005.
MAC Tournament Positioning
• Ball State is positioning itself for the MAC Tournament. This year's tournament, which will include only 11 teams because Toledo is ineligible, will feature five teams with first-round byes.
• The Cardinals have secured no worse than the No. 8 seed. The No. 6 through No. 8 seeds will host first-round games, while the top five seeds will go straight to Cleveland.
• Akron (13-1) and Ohio (12-2) have locked up the top two spots, while Western Michigan (9-5) can finish no worse than a tie for third overall. Here are the other five teams still in the hunt for byes along with their remaining schedules:
Buffalo (7-7): vs. Ohio, at Bowling Green
Kent State (7-7): vs. Bowling Green, at Akron
Eastern Michigan (7-7): at Central Michigan, vs. Toledo
Bowling Green (6-8): at Kent State, vs. Buffalo
Ball State (6-8): at Western Michigan, vs. Northern Illinois
Scaife Going Off
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is averaging 25.7 points over the past six games (Ball State is 5-1) and 23.6 points per game over the past nine contests.
• He has recorded two of the six 30-point performances by MAC players in league games and is one of only two players in the conference (Buffalo's Javon McCrea) with multiple 30-point games this year -- 30 against Western Michigan (Feb. 9) and 34 against Central Michigan (Feb. 27).
• Scaife's 34 points vs. CMU are the most in a game by any player in the MAC this season, while his 11 league games with at least 17 points are the most in the conference.
• He became the first Cardinal with 30 points in a game since Peyton Stovall (37 vs. IPFW on Dec. 31, 2007) and the first with 30 in a MAC contest since Skip Mills (38 at Buffalo on March 6, 2006).
Scaife in Crunch Time
• Jauwan Scaife scored seven points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, in the final 1:33 of the Feb. 23 win at Southeast Missouri.
• Over the past nine games, Scaife is scoring one-third of his points in the final five minutes of games. He is logging 8.0 of his 23.6 average in the last five minutes over that nine-game stretch while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor, 53.3 percent from 3-point range and 86.8 percent from the foul line in those last five minutes.
More on Scaife's Scoring
• At 20.0 points per game in MAC play, Jauwan Scaife's scoring average in league games is on pace to be the highest by a Ball State player since Chris Williams scored 25.5 points per game during the conference slate in the 2002-03 season.
• Skip Mills averaged 17.9 points in during league play for the 2005-06 season and Peyton Stovall averaged 17.9 over the 2004-05 league slate.
• Scaife has put up his impressive numbers by bouncing back from a slow start, in which he averaged 9.5 points through the first 10 games of the season.
Playing Well on the Road
• Ball State has found success away from home this season, posting a 6-6 record on the road, including a 4-3 mark in MAC play.
• The Cardinals' six total road wins are tied for the third-most in the MAC, behind only Akron (7 and Kent State (7). Ohio and Western Michigan also have six.
• In conference games, Ball State is shooting eight percentage points higher on the road than at home (48.1 percent on the road, 40.1 percent at home).
Going Down to the Wire
• Ball State has won three games this season in the final second.
• The Cardinals defeated Norfolk State on Majok Majok's dunk as time expired Jan. 2, Eastern Michigan on Chris Bond's free throws with no time left Jan. 9 and Southeast Missouri on Jauwan Scaife's 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining Feb. 23.
Turnover Differential is Key
• BSU averages 13.3 turnovers per game in its 13 wins but 16.7 per game in its 14 losses.
• Ball State is 8-1 when committing the same number of turnovers as its opponent or fewer but 5-13 when committing more turnovers.
• The Cardinals had their lowest turnover outputs in MAC play in three of their past four league wins -- Feb. 13 over Northern Illinois (10), Feb. 9 over Western Michigan (12) and Feb. 27 over Central Michigan (11) -- but then managed to win Saturday at Toledo despite 21 turnovers.
• Junior forward Majok Majok has spent the majority of the season averaging a double-double and currently holds averages of 10.8 points and 9.9 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, who ranks third in the MAC with eight double-doubles, is averaging 10.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in league play.
• With 18 points and 17 rebounds Dec. 5 against Holy Cross (Ind.), he 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 Majok is tied for 17th nationally and leads the Mid-American Conference at 9.9 rebounds per game. He had 16 rebounds three games ago against Eastern Michigan.
• 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.
Berry's Explosive Performances
• Junior guard Jesse Berry scored 22 points Saturday at Toledo for his sixth 20-point game of the season and the eighth of his career.
• Berry, the MAC West Player of the Week twice this season and three times in his career, 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. He scored 21 in the non-conference finale against Norfolk State and had 20 in the Jan. 26 game at Miami.
High Volume Rebounding
• Despite having his minutes limited for much of the season with a back problem, junior forward Matt Kamieniecki ranks second on the team at 6.0 rebounds per game.
• Kamieniecki averages 11.9 rebounds per 40 minutes for the second-best average on the team behind Majok Majok (12.8).
Cleaning Up on the Glass
• Ball State has out-rebounded 11 of its 14 Mid-American Conference opponents
• The Cardinals have out-rebounded their opponent by double digits in five of those games: March 2 at Toledo (45-24), Jan. 26 at Miami (37-17), Jan. 30 vs. Toledo (41-25), Jan. 9 at Eastern Michigan (29-16) and Feb. 16 vs. Eastern Michigan (33-23).
• Ball State's +6.2 average rebounding margin in conferences games ranks first in the MAC.
Scaife Moving up Career Scoring List
• Jauwan Scaife surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career earlier this season at Akron.
• The local product from Muncie Central High School became the 26th member of Ball State's 1,000-point club. He now owns 1,260 points to rank 17th in school history.
Scaife, Berry on Career Treys List
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife ranks second on BSU's career 3-pointers list with 193, behind only Patrick Jackson (1998-2002), who holds the school record at 202.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry is quickly climbing the list, as well. He owns 151 career 3-pointers, which ranks sixth in school history. Berry is three treys away from cracking the top five.
• Scaife also ranks among the school's all-time leaders in career games played (117, 8th), minutes played (3,255, 9th), starts (90, T-11th) and free throw percentage (.787, 12th).
Bond Knows How to Finish
• Junior forward Chris Bond has connected on 53.1 percent of his career field goal attempts, which is on pace to rank seventh in school history.
• Bond is shooting 59.6 percent in MAC play this season (second-best in the league), including an 8-for-8 effort Jan. 9 at Eastern Michigan, where he scored a career-high 18 points and hit the game-winning free throws.
Bond Stealing the Show
• Chris Bond ranks tied for second in the Mid-American Conference in steals with an average of 2.0 per game and tied for third in league games only at 1.9 per game.
• Bond matched his career-high with five steals, all in the second half, Jan. 26 at Miami.
• He has had eight games this year with at least four steals.
• Bond's 55 steals already have nearly doubled his previous career high of 29 steals last season.
Posley the Distributor
• Freshman guard Marcus Posley leads Ball State and ranks eighth in the MAC with 3.1 assists per game and a 1.6-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.
• Posley had a career-high eight assists Feb. 23 at Southeast Missouri and dished out five Saturday at Toledo for his eighth game of the year with at least five assists.
Fields Gets Smaller to Play Bigger Role
• After four years in the program, fifth-year senior center Zach Fields made his first career start in the season opener against Grambling State and has gone on to start 20 of Ball State's 27 games.
• The 6-foot-10 Fields, who has lost 30 pounds in an effort to make a greater impact, is averaging 16.2 minutes per game this year after never logging more than 5.4 minutes per game previously.
• Fields logged career highs with 10 points and eight rebounds in the Grambling State game.
• Ball State is 6-8 in conference play, but the Cardinals have either led or been within one point during the second half in five of their eight losses. Here is a closer look at those five games:
Opponent -- Leading or trailing by one (Time) -- Final score
Kent State (1/12) -- BSU trailed 45-44 (6:55) -- Kent State won 61-47
Akron (1/16) -- BSU trailed 47-46 (10:48) -- Akron won 71-64
Central Michigan (1/19) -- BSU led 41-35 (18:04) -- Central Michigan won 71-57
Buffalo (1/23) -- BSU led 49-46 (8:29) -- Buffalo won 66-63
Toledo (1/30) -- BSU led 47-43 (15:07) -- Toledo won 85-78