The Ball State men’s basketball team travels to face Mid-American Conference East Division leader Akron for a 7 p.m. tipoff Wednesday.
The Cardinals (4-13, 1-5 MAC) split two games last week, including a victory over Buffalo, another of the top teams in the East Division. Meanwhile, Akron (13-6, 5-1 MAC) swept a pair of road games last week at Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.
Akron is one of two East Division teams Ball State will face twice this season in the league’s return to an 18-game conference schedule. The Zips emerged with a 72-68 victory over the Cardinals in Muncie in the league opener earlier this month.
Ball State at Akron
Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. ET – James A. Rhodes Arena (Akron, Ohio)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); Ron Hecklinski (analyst)
• Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live video through the MAC Digital Network at mac-sports.com; Live stats at gozips.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State and Akron will be meeting for the second time this season, as the Zips are one of two MAC East Division opponents (Buffalo) the Cardinals will play twice.
• Ball State split two MAC games last week, posting its first league win over Buffalo at home (71-68) and falling on the road at Western Michigan (62-53).
• Senior forward Chris Bond averaged a double-double for the week (15.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and ran his streak of double-figure scoring games to seven straight.
• Senior center Majok Majok logged his seventh double-double of the year at Western Michigan and is one of 14 players in the country averaging a double-double at 10.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
• A preseason All-MAC West Division selection, Majok ranks 15th in the nation in rebounding.
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner leads the Cardinals at 12.4 points per game, though Bond has been the top scorer in MAC play at 14.2 per game (11.8 for the season).
• Senior guard Jesse Berry gives Ball State a fourth double-figure scorer for the season at 10.2 points per game.
• For the season, freshmen have accounted for better than 42 percent of the Cardinals’ minutes and scoring.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule, which has been rated as high as No. 16 in the country this season, currently checks in at No. 55 according to Ken Pomeroy.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• Akron director of basketball operations Dan Peters has taken a personal leave of absence to seek treatment for pancreatic cancer.
• Ball State head coach James Whitford has known Peters for more than 20 years and worked with his son Danny at Arizona, where Danny is an assistant director of operations.
• Whitford joined other MAC coaches last week in wearing a pin to support Peters’ battle with cancer.
• Akron has started the hashtag #4PetesSake for Twitter users to utilize when tweeting about “Pete.”
• Akron (13-6, 5-1 MAC), the defending MAC champion, again sits atop the East Division.
• The Zips have won seven of their past eight games with the only loss during that stretch coming to MAC West leader Toledo.
• Demetrius Treadwell leads Akron with 13.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, while Quincy Diggs adds 12.7 points per game.
• The Zips lead the MAC in 3-point percentage, shooting 35.5 percent as a team.
• In conference play, Akron is the league’s second-highest scoring team at 72.5 points per game.
The Series with Akron
• Ball State and Akron will be meeting for the second time this year and the 34th time in the all-time series with the Zips owning an 18-15 lead.
• Akron has won the last 10 meetings, including a 72-68 win in Muncie back on Jan. 8.
• Ball State is 5-10 all-time in Akron, and the Cardinals’ most recent road win in the series came on Feb. 28, 2001.
• A complete series history is available on page 9.
Last Time against Akron
• Akron topped Ball State 72-68 in the MAC opener at Worthen Arena on Jan. 8.
• The Cardinals clawed backed from double digits to cut the lead to one possession in the closing seconds, but the Zips held on.
• Chris Bond led Ball State with 18 points, while Majok Majok notched a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds.
• Akron’s Quincy Diggs led all players with 21 points, while Demetrius Treadwell scored 13.
• Ball State won the rebounding battle, 42-35, limited Akron to just 3-for-23 shooting from 3-point range and made more free throws (26) than the Zips attempted (24).
Cardinals Excel on the Boards
• Ball State’s biggest strength this season has been rebounding.
• The Cardinals own a +3.9 average rebounding margin for the season, which ranks third in the MAC behind only Toledo (+5.0) and Northern Illinois (+4.8).
• In league play, Ball State has been the second-best MAC team in terms of rebounding margin at +3.7.
• Sunday at Western Michigan, Ball State was outrebounded (36-34) for the first time in nine games and the first time in six contests against MAC opponents.
Defending the 3-Ball
• Ball State has been the top team in MAC play at defending the 3-pointer, limiting opponents to 22 percent from beyond the arc through six league games.
• The Cardinals’ past three opponents have gone just 5 for 35 (.143) from 3-point range.
• Here is how Ball State’s MAC foes have fared from 3-point range: Akron (3-23, .130), Kent State (6-14, .429), Ohio (6-19, .316), Miami (2-12, .167), Buffalo (1-14, .071) and Western Michigan (2-9, .222).
Making Good at the Foul Line
• Ball State has knocked down 71.5 percent of its free throws as a team this season and 77.5 percent during conference play.
• The last time a Ball State team shot better than 70 percent for a season was 2003-04 (73.1 percent).
• The Cardinals feature two of the top 40 free throw shooters in the country in Jesse Berry (.878, 37th) and Zavier Turner (.877, 39th).
• Turner led the nation earlier this season and made 27 straight free throws at one point, while Berry is riding a streak of 24 straight makes dating back to Nov. 27 at Utah.
Turnovers Telling the Story
• Ball State has been prone to high turnover numbers this season.
• The Cardinals are turning the ball over more than any team in the MAC at 16.9 per game.
• Ball State has held its turnovers to 13.5 per game in its wins compared to 18.0 in its losses.
• The Cardinals turned it over a season-low 10 times in the Jan. 3 victory over Oakland City and a season-worst 23 times in the Dec. 17 loss at Marquette.
• They limited their turnovers to 14 in last Thursday’s win over Buffalo.
Bond Picking up His Scoring
• Senior forward Chris Bond is averaging a career-high 11.8 points per game in his final season for the Cardinals.
• Bond has been especially effective of late, recording seven straight double-figure scoring games and averaging 14.4 points per game over that stretch.
• He scored a career-high 20 points earlier this year against Southeast Missouri and has reached 16 points in five games, including in last Thursday’s win over Buffalo.
Bond Keeping Good Company
• Chris Bond now owns career totals of 886 points, 526 rebounds and 138 steals.
• In surpassing 500 career rebounds Jan. 15 at Ohio, Bond became only the second player in Ball State history with at least 800 points, 500 rebounds and 125 steals in a career.
• Bonzi Wells (1994-98) is the other. He ended his career with 2,485 points, 843 rebounds and 347 steals.
Ball State’s Iron Man
• Senior forward Chris Bond has made 48 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 86 games in his career, including all 75 in which he has played over the past three seasons.
Majok One of the Nation’s Best on the Boards
• Senior center Majok Majok leads the MAC and ranks 15th nationally in rebounding at 10.2 boards per game.
• He owns 11 double-digit rebounding games, including a career-best 18-rebound effort Jan. 3 against Oakland City. The 18 rebounds against Oakland City are the 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 averaging 10.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as one of 14 players in the country averaging a double-double.
• 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 owns seven double-doubles on the year and 16 for his two-year Ball State career.
• With 25 points and 18 rebounds in the non-conference finale versus Oakland City, Majok became the first Ball State player with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Terrance Chapman did it in a January 2005 game at Eastern Michigan.
• For his two-year Ball State career, Majok is averaging 10.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Finding Lineup Consistency
• After using six different starting lineup combinations over the first 10 games, Ball State has found some consistency over the past seven.
• The Cardinals have started three freshmen -- guards Zavier Turner and Mark Alstork and forward Franko House -- along with two seniors -- forward Chris Bond and center Majok Majok -- in each of the past seven games.
• Bond has started all 15 games this season, while Turner and Majok have each made 14 starts.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 12.4 points and 3.6 assists per game.
• He has reached double figures a team-high 11 times this season, including a career-best 24-point output Jan. 18 against Miami.
• 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 from Beyond the Arc
• Zavier Turner ranks fourth in the MAC in 3-point percentage (.412) and fifth in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.1).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in seven of the Cardinals’ 17 games, including a career-high four against Marquette and Miami.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks in the top 20 in the MAC in minutes per game (32.2, 5th), assists per game (3.6, 6th) and points per game (12.4, 18th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories (including the ones in the previous note), except 3-point percentage, where he trails only teammate Mark Alstork (.415).
Alstork’s Big Night at Kent State
• Jan. 11 at Kent State, Mark Alstork became the first player since 2008 to lead Ball State in points, rebounds and assists in a game. Alstork finished with career highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds and matched his career best with five assists.
• The last Ball State player to accomplish the feat was Peyton Stovall on Jan. 16, 2008 against Western Michigan. Stovall led the team with 18 points and tied for team-high honors with seven boards and one assist.
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 42 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.
Persistent Crowder Gets His Chance
• Ball State walk-on senior guard Kindon Crowder has seen action in seven of the past 10 games. He played a season-high 14 minutes off the bench Feb. 18 versus Miami.
• 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.
Cardinals Add Mid-Year Transfer Jeremiah Davis
• Ball State has added Cincinnati transfer and former Muncie Central High School standout Jeremiah Davis to its roster.
• He will practice with the Cardinals during the spring semester, though he will not be immediately eligible able to play in games because of NCAA transfer rules.
• His family lost its Muncie home to a fire in November, and he sought to transfer after completing the fall semester at Cincinnati.
• Davis averaged nearly eight minutes per game as a freshman in 2011-12 for a Cincinnati team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He was limited to four games last season because of a wrist injury for which Cincinnati has requested a medical hardship.
• Davis helped Muncie Central to conference and sectional championships in 2009-10. He then moved on to Huntington (W. Va.) Prep for one season before heading to Cincinnati.
Berry from Downtown
• Jesse Berry matched his career-high with six 3-pointers Dec. 30 at James Madison.
• Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 191 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 559 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.
Berry Reaches 1,000
• Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State.
• He now owns 1,094 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, became the 26th member last season.