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Jesse Berry hit six 3-pointers Monday at James Madison.
Courtesy: BSU Photo Services

MBB Hosts Oakland City Friday in Final MAC Tuneup

Courtesy: Ball State Athletics
         
Release: January 02, 2014
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The Ball State men’s basketball team plays its first home game in a month Friday, closing out non-conference play with a 7 p.m. game against Oakland City.

The Cardinals (2-8) have played three straight contests on the road, most recently falling Monday at James Madison. Oakland City (8-3), located in Southwestern Indiana, has won each of its past three games but has been off for the holidays since Dec. 19.

Following Friday’s game, Ball State will remain in Muncie to host defending Mid-American Conference champion Akron in the league opener Wednesday.

Game Information
Ball State vs. Oakland City
Friday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. -- Worthen Arena (Muncie, Ind.)

Live Coverage 
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Jeff Weller (play-by-play)
• Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Petar Hood (play-by-play), Sean Stewart (analyst)
• 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 enters Friday’s contest with Oakland City looking to snap a seven-game losing skid.
• The Cardinals will be playing their first home game in a month, returning to Worthen Arena for the first time since a Dec. 4 matchup with Valparaiso.
• Ball State has played five of its past six on the road after opening with three out of its first four at home.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule is rated as high as No. 35 in the country (Sagarin).
• Seniors Majok Majok and Jesse Berry led the Cardinals with 18 points the last time out against James Madison.
• Majok leads the Mid-American Conference and ranks 21st nationally with 9.9 rebounds per game.
• Majok, who has four double-doubles on the season, was a preseason All-MAC West selection.
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals with averages of 13.5 points and 4.1 assists per game.
• Berry (11.4 ppg) and fellow senior Chris Bond (10.0 ppg) are also averaging double figures.
• Turner is the top free throw shooter in the country at 96.8 percent (30 for 31).
• For the season, freshmen have accounted for better than 44 percent of the Cardinals’ minutes and scoring.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.

Scouting Oakland City
• Oakland City is 8-3 on the season and enters Friday’s contest riding a three-game winning streak.
• The Mighty Oaks have been off since a Dec. 19 victory at Heritage Baptist College (102-54).
• Oakland City is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
• Five Oakland City players are averaging double-figure scoring, led by Kendall Wittmer at 16.6 points per game.
• The Mighty Oaks are shooting 47.9 percent as a team and 41.1 percent from 3-point range.
• They are outscoring their opponents by an average of 16.7 points per game.
• The Mighty Oaks have played one other NCAA Division I opponent this season, falling to 84-69 at Austin Peay in their season opener.

The Series with Oakland City
• Ball State and Oakland City will be meeting for the seventh time in history but just the second since the 1950s.
• The last time the teams met was the 2005-06 season opener when the Cardinals came away with a 78-72 win.
• The Mighty Oaks held a two-point lead with 4:30 left in that game, but a late 10-0 run helped Ball State to the win.
• Oakland City won the first ever meeting between the teams in 1927, but Ball State has won each of the past five.

Tough Competition
• Ball State’s strength of schedule is ranked among the top 40 in the country by both Jeff Sagarin (35) and Ken Pomeroy (39).
• The Cardinals’ 10 opponents to this point own a combined record of 79-56 (.585), highlighted by Utah at 11-1 and Butler and Indiana State both at 10-3.

Varying Lineup Combinations
• Ball State has utilized six different starting lineup combinations through its first 10 games.
• Nine different Ball State players have started at least one game.
• In each of the past three 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.
• Bond has started all 10 games, while Turner and Majok have each made nine starts.

One Constant in the Lineup
• Senior forward Chris Bond has made 41 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 79 games in his career, including all 68 in which he has played over the past three seasons.

Bond Keeping Good Company
Chris Bond enters Friday’s game with career totals of 785 points, 483 rebounds and 129 steals.
• He is one of only three players in Ball State history to surpass 750 points, 475 rebounds and 125 steals for a career, joining Bonzi Wells (1994-98) and John Williams (1979-82).
• Wells finished with 2,485 points, 843 rebounds and 347 steals. Williams had 973 points, 497 rebounds and 167 steals.

Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 13.5 points and 4.1 assists per game.
• He has scored at least eight points in all 10 games and reached double figures seven times.
• 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 .968 free throw percentage, having made 30 of his 31 attempts from the charity stripe.
• He has made 23 straight free throws dating back to the second half of the Nov. 18 game against Southeast Missouri.

Turner from Beyond the Arc
Zavier Turner also leads the MAC in 3-pointers per game (2.5) and ranks fifth in the league in 3-point percentage (.472).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in six of the Cardinals’ 10 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 (32.3, 5th), assists per game (4.1, 5th) and points per game (13.5, 12th).
• 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 Western Michigan’s Kellen McCormick (.478).

Majok One of the Nation’s Best on the Boards
• Senior center Majok Majok leads the MAC and ranks 21st nationally in rebounding at 9.9 boards per game.
• He owns six 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 is coming off his fourth double-double of the season and 13th of his Ball State career in an 18-point, 14-rebound performance at James Madison.
• He is now averaging 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.
• Majok ranked third in the MAC with nine double-doubles last year 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 reached double figures in four of the past six games, including a career-high 11 points against both Valparaiso and Marquette.
• Alstork has been efficient from beyond the arc this season, knocking down 45.5 percent (10 of 22) to rank seventh the MAC in 3-point percentage.
• He had career highs with five assists and five rebounds Monday at James Madison.

Persistent Crowder Gets His Chance
• Ball State walk-on senior guard Kindon Crowder played in two straight games before sitting out the James Madison contest because of illness. He 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 44 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.

Berry Reaches 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State.
• He now owns 1,034 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 matched his career-high with six 3-pointers Monday at James Madison.
• Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 180 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 514 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 Sean Miller’s staff at Xavier and Arizona, including the past two as the Wildcats’ associate head coach.
• He also has previous MAC experience with 11 years 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 is sitting out the season after undergoing wrist surgery. He will redshirt 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.
• 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 preseason All-MAC West Division in a vote of the league’s media. 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.

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