Cardinals Host Taylor for Tuesday Menís Hoops
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s basketball team will play its first home game of the regular season Tuesday with a 7 p.m. tipoff against Taylor.
The Cardinals (0-1), implementing the new system of first-year head coach James Whitford, hung with a veteran Indiana State team Saturday in their season opener before falling 82-73.
Taylor (2-1), also under a first-year coach in Josh Andrews, is coming off a double-overtime road victory Saturday at Indiana Tech.
Ball State vs. Taylor
Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. -- Worthen Arena (Muncie, Ind.)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play)
• Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Luke Martin (play-by-play), Sean Stewart (analyst) & Petar Hood (sidelines)
• Internet: Live video and 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 is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• Tuesday’s game will be the first regular-season contest for Whitford inside Worthen Arena. The Cardinals defeated Marian in a home exhibition game.
• Ball State opened the regular season with an 82-73 loss Saturday at Indiana State, a team that was picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference.
• The Cardinals trailed the Sycamores by nine at the break but played them even over the final 20 minutes.
• Ball State’s starting guards, Jesse Berry (23 points) and Zavier Turner (17 points) combined for 40 of the Cardinals’ 73 points at Indiana State.
• Turner, a freshman point guard, has scored 35 points over Ball State’s exhibition game against Marian and the first regular season game at Indiana State.
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki underwent wrist surgery last week and will sit out the season. Kamieniecki will redshirt this year and return as a fifth-year senior next season.
• Senior big man Majok Majok, a third-team All-Mid-American Conference pick last year, was one of five players selected to the preseason All-MAC West Division Team.
• Tuesday’s game is the first of three straight at home for Ball State in a stretch that also includes contests with Southeast Missouri (Nov. 18) and Butler (Nov. 23).
• Taylor enters the game at 2-1 on the season, coming off an 80-76, double-overtime victory Friday at Indiana Tech.
• The Trojans, an NAIA program, also own a win over Siena Heights. Taylor’s loss came by four points to Lindsey Wilson, the No. 10-ranked team in NAIA Division I.
• Taylor graduated its top three scorers from a team that finished 21-12 a year ago.
• The Trojans also have a new head coach for the first time in 35 seasons as Josh Andrews has taken over for the retired Paul Patterson.
• Four Taylor players are averaging double-figure scoring: forwards Josh Riikonen (17.7 ppg) and Kyle Stidom (14.3) and guards Ben Raichel (13.0) and Jesse Coffey (12.7).
The Series with Taylor
• Ball State and Taylor have played three times in the regular season but not since the 1936-37 season.
• The teams met three straight seasons from 1934-35 through 1936-37 with the Cardinals winning all three meetings.
• Ball State and Taylor played an exhibition game two years ago on Nov. 7, 2011 with the Cardinals posting a 72-47 win at Worthen Arena.
• Ball State guard Jesse Berry, a sophomore at the time, led all players with 22 points in the game.
The Old and the Young
• Ball State’s lineup this season is heavy on both experience and youth.
• Through one exhibition game and one regular-season contest, Ball State’s four active seniors have combined to play 230 of the team’s 400 minutes.
• The Cardinals’ four freshmen have combined to play 153 of those 400 minutes, led by point guard Zavier Turner with 63 minutes played.
• Together, the senior and freshman classes have accounted for 383 minutes.
• The only other player to see action this season is Bo Calhoun, who teams with Chase Brogna to form the sophomore class. The Cardinals have no scholarship juniors.
Hot Shooting Start
• Ball State shot 53.2 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent from 3-point range in Saturday’s season opener at Indiana State.
• The Cardinals surpassed each of those shooting percentages only four times last season.
Whitford Era Begins
• Ball State is playing its first season under coach James Whitford, who was introduced April 10, 2013 as the 19th head coach in program history.
• Whitford came to Ball State after serving the previous eight years on the staff of Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona, including the previous two years 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.
Kamieniecki to Miss Season, Redshirt
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki will sit out the season after undergoing wrist surgery.
• Kamieniecki will redshirt this season and return to the floor as a fifth-year senior in 2014-15.
• Kamieniecki 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’s team, four of which are seniors -- center Majok Majok, guard Jesse Berry and forwards Chris Bond and Tyler Koch.
• Majok, a former junior college transfer, led the MAC and ranked among the top 20 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.
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.
• Majok 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.
Cardinals Add Young Talent
• Ball State has welcomed the addition of four scholarship freshmen for 2013-14, all of whom have already seen significant action.
• Zavier Turner, an all-state point guard from Pike High School in Indianapolis, will be asked to shoulder much of the ball handling load for the Cardinals in his rookie season.
• The class of 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.
• Additionally, local product Kaleb Mallory from Muncie Central High School was invited to join the team as a walk-on.
Berry from Downtown
• Jesse Berry returns as Ball State’s top outside shooting threat.
• Berry shot a career-best 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season and raised his percentage to 41.2 during MAC play.
• He has moved into a tie for fourth place all-time at Ball State with 161 career 3-pointers and needs just three more to take sole possession of third place on the list.
• Former teammate Jauwan Scaife set the school record last year, finishing his career with 203 treys.
Bond Stealing the Show
• Chris Bond is tied for 14th on Ball State’s career steals list with 118.
• Bond led the MAC last year with 2.1 steals per game, logging a career-high 62 steals for the season.
• He is 49 steals shy of moving into the top five in Ball State history.
• One of Ball State’s biggest challenges this season will be to replace the scoring punch of Jauwan Scaife, who completed his career last year 14th on Ball State’s all-time scoring list.
• An All-MAC Second Team selection, Scaife ranked second in the league during MAC play last year with 19.9 points per game.
• In conference play, Scaife also ranked among the top five in the league in free throws made (1st, 98), 3-pointers made (2nd, 44) and minutes per game (5th, 35.2).
• He scored 24 points per game over the final eight regular-season contests, leading Ball State to a 7-1 record down the stretch.
• Scaife is now a graduate student manager for the Cardinals.
• Also gone from last year’s team are center Zach Fields, who graduated after starting 21 games, and guard Marcus Posley, who transferred after averaging 6.5 points and 2.9 assists per game.
Picked Fourth in MAC West
• Ball State was picked to finish fourth in the MAC West Division in the preseason poll of the league’s media members.
• Toledo was picked as the West Division favorite, followed by Western Michigan in second and Eastern Michigan in third. Central Michigan and Northern Illinois were picked to finish fifth and sixth, respectively.
• Akron was voted as the favorite to win both the MAC East Division and the MAC Tournament.