Cardinals Make Return Trip to Buffalo in Menís Hoops
Two weeks ago in Muncie, the Ball State men’s basketball team topped Buffalo for its first Mid-American Conference win of the season. Wednesday in Buffalo, the Cardinals will meet up with the Bulls again.
Ball State (4-15, 1-7 MAC) and Buffalo (11-7, 5-3 MAC) will tip at 7 p.m. Wednesday from Alumni Arena.
The Cardinals are coming off a tough overtime loss Saturday at home against Northern Illinois, while Buffalo is returning to its home court after Sunday defeat at Bowling Green. The Bulls have yet to lose at Alumni Arena in conference play.
Ball State at Buffalo
Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. ET – Alumni Arena (Buffalo, N.Y.)
• 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 through the MAC Digital Network at mac-sports.com; Live stats at ubbulls.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State travels to Buffalo for the second meeting between the teams in two weeks. The Bulls are one of two MAC East Division teams (Akron) the Cardinals play twice this year in the MAC’s return to an 18-game league slate.
• Ball State won the teams’ first meeting this season 71-68 on Jan. 23 in Muncie.
• The Cardinals are coming off a 67-65 loss to Northern Illinois in Ball State’s first overtime game since a 76-73 victory over Ohio in the 2011 MAC Tournament quarters.
• The Cardinals have been balanced offensively with four players averaging double figures: freshman Zavier Turner (12.1 ppg) and seniors Chris Bond (11.7), Majok Majok (11.1) and Jesse Berry (10.2).
• Majok, the Ball State center, owns seven double-doubles on the season and has spent much of the year averaging a double-double. He is currently averaging 11.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• A preseason All-MAC West Division selection, Majok leads the MAC and ranks 19th in the nation in rebounding.
• For the season, freshmen have accounted for better than 40 percent of the Cardinals’ minutes and scoring.
• For the past nine games, Ball State has started three freshmen: Turner, Mark Alstork and Franko House.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• Buffalo (11-7, 5-3 MAC) is coming off a 74-68 loss Sunday at Bowling Green.
• The Bulls, picked second in the MAC East Division preseason poll, are 9-1 at home and a perfect 4-0 at home in conference play.
• Preseason All-MAC East selection Javon McCrea tops Buffalo and ranks third in the league in scoring (17.5 ppg) and second in rebounding (9.4 rpg).
• Joshua Freelove (12.8 ppg) and Will Regan (10.9), another preseason All-MAC East pick, are also averaging double figures.
The Series with Buffalo
• Ball State and Buffalo will be meeting for the 25th time with the Cardinals owning a 14-10 lead in the all-time series.
• Ball State snapped a three-game Buffalo winning streak in the series with a 71-68 victory in Muncie earlier this season on Jan. 23.
• The Cardinals are 5-5 all-time on the road against the Bulls with wins in two of their past three trips to Buffalo (2007-08 and 2009-10)
• The Bulls won the last time the teams played in Buffalo with a 73-57 victory Feb. 1, 2012.
• A complete series history is available on page 9.
The Last Time vs. Buffalo
• Jesse Berry scored 21 points and Ball State defeated Buffalo 71-68 in the first meeting between the teams this season on Jan. 23.
• Chris Bond had a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards, while Franko House had a career-high 12 points and Majok Majok also added 12.
• Javon McCrea led Buffalo with 28 points, including 18 in the first half, and Joshua Freelove scored 15.
• In a game that featured 15 ties and 10 lead changes, House put Ball State ahead for good at 69-67 on a jumper with 45 seconds to play.
Cardinals Excel on the Boards
• One of Ball State’s biggest strengths this season has been rebounding.
• The Cardinals own a +3.5 average rebounding margin for the season, which ranks third in the MAC behind only Toledo (+5.4) and Northern Illinois (+4.4).
• In league play, Ball State has a +2.8 average rebounding margin, which ranks second in the conference.
• The Cardinals have outrebounded all but two of their MAC opponents: Western Michigan (36-34) on Jan. 26 and Akron (34-28) on Jan. 29.
Making Good at the Foul Line
• Despite making just 14 of 28 at the foul line Saturday against Northern Illinois, Ball State is a 72.1 percent free throw shooting team during conference play.
• For the season, Zavier Turner ranks 33rd in the country at 87.9 percent from the line, while Jesse Berry is the second best on the team at 83.1 percent.
• Turner led the nation in free throw percentage for several weeks earlier this season and made 27 straight free throws at one point, while Berry had a streak of 25 straight makes snapped Jan. 29 at Akron.
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 16.8 per game.
• Ball State has held its turnovers to 13.5 per game in its wins compared to 17.7 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.
Bond Picking up His Scoring
• Senior forward Chris Bond is averaging a career-high 11.7 points per game in his final season for the Cardinals.
• Bond has been especially effective of late, reaching double figures in eight of the past nine games and averaging 13.7 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 six games, including Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois.
Bond Keeping Good Company
• Chris Bond now owns career totals of 908 points, 535 rebounds and 141 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 50 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 88 games in his career, including all 77 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 19th nationally in rebounding at 9.8 boards per game.
• He owns 12 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 just shy of a double-double at 11.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Only 15 players in the country are 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 9.8 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 nine.
• 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 nine games.
• Bond has started all 19 games this season, while Turner and Majok have each made 18 starts.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 12.1 points and 3.4 assists per game.
• He has reached double figures a team-high 12 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 second in the MAC in 3-point percentage (.426) and second in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.1).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in eight of the Cardinals’ 19 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 (32.4, 6th), assists per game (3.4, 7th) and points per game (12.1, 17th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories (including the ones in the previous note).
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 40 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 eight of the past 12 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 194 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 575 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 1,113 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.