The Ball State men’s basketball team will take the floor for its final non-conference road game Monday at James Madison. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. at the JMU Convocation Center.
It will be the first game for both teams since Dec. 21. The Cardinals (2-7) will be playing on the road for the fifth time in the past six games, while James Madison (4-9) will be playing just its second home game of the season.
Ball State at James Madison
Monday, Dec. 30 at 8 p.m. ET -- JMU Convocation Center (Harrisonburg, Va.)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play)
• Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live video and live stats available at jmusports.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State travels to James Madison looking to snap a six-game losing streak.
• The Cardinals have been off for the holidays since a 66-58 loss Dec. 21 at Southern Illinois in a game that was tied with five minutes to play.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule is rated as high as No. 22 in the country (Sagarin).
• For the season, freshmen have accounted for 45.4 percent of the Cardinals’ minutes and 46.0 percent of their scoring.
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 13.9 points and 3.9 assists per game.
• Turner is the top free throw shooter in the country at 96.3 percent (26 for 27).
• Seniors Jesse Berry (10.7 ppg) and Chris Bond (10.1 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
• Senior center Majok Majok ranks second in the Mid-American Conference and 42nd nationally with 9.4 rebounds per game.
• Majok, who has three double-doubles on the season, was a preseason All-MAC West selection.
• The Cardinals are wrapping up a stretch in which they have played five out of six games on the road.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
Scouting James Madison
• James Madison is 4-9 on the year but has won two of its past three games with victories Dec. 14 at High Point (84-69) and Dec. 21 versus Hampton (55-49).
• The Dukes will be playing at home for just the second time this season and the first time since Nov. 19. They are 0-1 at home, 2-6 in true road games and 2-2 in neutral site games.
• Three James Madison players are averaging double figure scoring: Charles Cooke (14.7 ppg), Ron Curry (12.5 ppg) and Andrey Semenov (11.0 ppg).
• The Dukes are scoring 62.2 points per game as a team and allowing opponents an average of 68.5.
• James Madison and Ball State share one common opponent in Valparaiso. Valpo defeated Ball State 69-50 (Dec. 4) and beat JMU 81-49 (Nov. 23).
• The Dukes have also played one other Mid-American Conference team, dropping a 60-55 decision Nov. 15 at Northern Illinois.
The Series with James Madison
• Ball State and James Madison will be meeting for the first time.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule is ranked among the top 30 in the country by both Jeff Sagarin (22) and Ken Pomeroy (30).
• The Cardinals’ non-conference opponents have a .640 winning percentage (73-41) through games of Dec. 28, highlighted by Utah at 11-1 and Butler at 10-2.
Varying Lineup Combinations
• Ball State has utilized six different starting lineup combinations through its first nine games.
• Nine different Ball State players have started at least one game.
• In each of the past two games, the Cardinals have started freshmen Zavier Turner and Mark Alstork in the backcourt along with seniors Chris Bond, Tyler Koch and Majok Majok in the frontcourt.
One Constant in the Lineup
• Senior forward Chris Bond has made 40 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 78 games in his career, including all 67 in which he has played over the past three seasons.
• After opening with three of its first four games at home, Ball State is now in a stretch where it has played five of six on the road.
• The Cardinals will conclude that stretch Monday at James Madison before returning home to host Oakland City Friday in their final non-conference game.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 13.9 points and 3.9 assists per game.
• He has scored at least 15 points in six of Ball State’s nine games.
• 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 Leading the Nation at the Stripe
• Zavier Turner ranks first in the country with a .963 free throw percentage, having made 26 of his 27 attempts from the charity stripe.
• He has made 19 straight free throws dating back to the second half of the Nov. 18 game against Southeast Missouri.
• The last time out against Southern Illinois was the first time this season Turner has not attempted a free throw.
Turner from Beyond the Arc
• Zavier Turner also leads the MAC in 3-pointers per game (2.6) and ranks fifth in the league in 3-point percentage (.479).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in six of the Cardinals’ nine games, including a career-high four at Marquette.
• He has been held without a trey in only one game (Dec. 4 vs. Valparaiso).
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks among the top 12 in the MAC in minutes per game (32.1, 5th), assists per game (3.9, 7th) and points per game (13.9, 11th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories (including the ones in the previous note) except 3-point percentage, where he ranks second only to teammate Mark Alstork (.529).
Majok One of the Nation’s Best on the Boards
• Senior center Majok Majok is tied for second in the MAC and 42nd nationally in rebounding at 9.4 boards per game.
• He owns five double-digit rebounding games, including a 16-rebound effort against Taylor that was one shy of his career high. The 16 rebounds are the second-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 owns three double-doubles on the season and 12 over his two seasons at Ball State.
• Majok ranked third in the MAC with nine double-doubles last year in his first season at Ball State and nearly averaged a double-double for the season at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• 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.
Alstork Developing as Scorer
• Freshman Mark Alstork has been Ball State’s second-best scorer over the past five games at 9.4 points per game.
• He has scored double figures in four of those five games, including a career-high 11 points against both Valparaiso and Marquette.
• Alstork has been efficient in limited attempts from beyond the arc this season, knocking down 52.9 percent (9 of 17) to rank second the MAC in 3-point percentage.
Persistent Crowder Gets His Chance
• Ball State walk-on senior guard Kindon Crowder has played in each of the past two games and knocked down a 3-pointer against both Marquette and Southern Illinois.
• 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.
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 45 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.
Rebounding Telling the Story
• Ball State has held a double-digit rebounding advantage in both of its wins this season, but the Cardinals have been out-rebounded in six of their seven losses.
• The team has held an average rebounding margin of +19.5 in its wins over Taylor (53-25) and Southeast Missouri (46-35).
• In the seven losses, Ball State has been out-rebounded by an average margin of 4.4.
• The only loss in which the Cardinals out-rebounded their opponent came Dec. 21 at Southern Illinois when they held a 29-28 edge on the glass in a 66-58 defeat.
Berry Reaches 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State.
• He now owns 1,016 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 has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 174 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 501 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.
Whitford Era Underway
• James Whitford, who was introduced April 10, 2013 as the 19th head coach in program history, earned his first career win in the Cardinals’ 73-53 victory Nov. 12 over Taylor.
• Whitford came to Ball State after serving the previous eight years on the staff of Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona, including the past two 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
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki will sit out the season after undergoing wrist surgery. He will redshirt this season and return to the floor as a fifth-year senior in 2014-15.
• Kamieniecki has 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, four of which are seniors -- center Majok Majok, guard Jesse Berry and forwards Chris Bond and Tyler Koch.
• Majok led the MAC and ranked 18th 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.
Relying on Young Talent
• Ball State brought in a class of four scholarship freshmen, all of whom are averaging at least 14 minutes per game.
• Freshman Zavier Turner, an all-state point guard from Pike High School in Indianapolis, is being asked to shoulder the majority of the ball handling load for the Cardinals.
• The class of scholarship 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.
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. He 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.