Men's Hoops Visits Northern Illinois Wednesday Night
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's basketball team completes its first trip through the Mid-American Conference West Division with a 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET) tipoff Wednesday at Northern Illinois.
The Cardinals (9-13, 3-7 MAC) head to the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb, Ill., fresh off a 65-62 victory Saturday over MAC West rival Western Michigan. Northern Illinois (5-17, 3-7 MAC) dropped a 59-54 decision Saturday at Buffalo.
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Play-by-play: Joel Godett; Analyst: David Eha
• Internet: Live audio at ballstatesports.com; live video at mac-sports.com; live stats at niuhuskies.com
• Ball State holds a 47-32 lead in the all-time series with Northern Illinois that dates back to 1942.
• The Cardinals, which have won the past five meetings in the series, are 21-10 against NIU since the Huskies re-joined the Mid-American Conference for the 1997-98 season.
• Northern Illinois holds a 21-16 advantage in games played in DeKalb, Ill.
• Ball State won both meetings last season, posting a 75-65 road victory (Jan. 21, 2012) and a 62-51 win at home (March 3, 2012).
• Ball State guard Jesse Berry averaged 15.5 points per game in the two wins last year over NIU, while forward Chris Bond added 14.0.
• Northern Illinois is the only MAC West Division team the Cardinals have not yet faced this year.
A Quick Look at the Cardinals
• Ball State got back in the win column Saturday with a 65-62 victory over MAC West Division leader Western Michigan to improve to 9-13 overall (3-7 MAC).
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife scored a career-high 30 points, including 24 after halftime, as the Cardinals snapped Western Michigan's seven-game winning streak.
• Freshman guard Marcus Posley made his first career start in place of an injured Jesse Berry and scored 15 points, while junior forward Matt Kamieniecki added 10.
• Scaife has truly emerged during the MAC season, scoring 17.4 points per game in conference play to rank fourth in the league.
• He leads Ball State for the season at 14.0 points per game, followed by junior guard Jesse Berry at 12.4 per game and junior forward Majok Majok at 11.8.
• Majok, who leads the MAC and ranks 15th nationally in rebounding, is one of 14 players in the country averaging a double-double at 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
Scouting Northern Illinois
• Northern Illinois has lost three games in a row since a Jan. 30 victory over Kent State (67-65). The Huskies are 5-17 on the season and 3-7 in MAC play.
• NIU's other league wins have come on the road at Miami (72-61) and Central Michigan (74-61).
• Sophomore wing Adbel Nader leads Northern Illinois with 14.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Nader, who missed the first seven games of the season, ranks ninth in the MAC with a scoring average of 13.9 points per game in league play.
• Junior forward Aksel Bolin is second among the active Huskies at 7.5 points per game.
• Despite its 5-17 record, Northern Illinois has a positive average rebounding margin (+0.7) and a positive turnover margin (+0.6) for the season.
• Ball State played Saturday against Western Michigan without second-leading scorer Jesse Berry, who was suffering from concussion-like symptoms.
• It was the first time Berry missed a game for Ball State. He had played in 83 straight games to start his college career.
• The Cardinals have played the past two games without junior forward Tyler Koch (hip), who also missed eight games earlier this season with a thumb injury.
• Ball State has played the entire conference season without freshman guard Michael Ramey as he recovers from illness.
Scaife Goes off on WMU
• Junior guard Jauwan Scaife exploded for 30 points Saturday against Western Michigan, matching his previous career high of 24 points in the second half alone.
• Scaife knocked down 7 of 11 field goal attempts and 7 of 8 free throws after the break, scoring 24 of Ball State's 37 second-half points
• Scaife became the first Cardinal with 30 points in a game since Peyton Stovall (37 vs. IPFW on Dec. 31, 2007) and the first to score 30 points in a MAC contest since Skip Mills (38 at Buffalo on March 6, 2006).
Turnover Differential is Key
• Ball State matched its lowest turnover output in conference play with 12 turnovers in Saturday's win over Western Michigan.
• The Cardinals also forced 20 WMU giveaways Saturday and turned them into 23 points, marking their most points off turnovers since they scored 31 in the season opener versus Grambling State.
• The +8 turnover margin against WMU was Ball State's best since forcing 18 and committing only five on Dec. 5 against Holy Cross (Ind.).
• The Cardinals average 12.9 turnovers per game in their nine wins but 17.0 giveaways per game in their 13 losses.
Scaife Scoring Consistently
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is averaging 17.8 points per game over the past 12 contests after averaging 9.5 points over the first 10 games of the season.
• Scaife has scored at least 18 points in seven of the past 12 games. His 17.4 scoring average in MAC games ranks fourth in the league.
• Here is a breakdown of Scaife's numbers:
First 10 games: 9.5 ppg, 29.3% FG (27 for 92), 20.0% 3PT (10 for 50)
Last 12 games: 17.8 ppg, 43.6% FG (65 for 149), 39.3% 3PT (33 for 84)
Production at the Top
• Ball State is the only team in the MAC with three players in the top 15 in the league in scoring -- Jauwan Scaife eighth (14.0 ppg), Jesse Berry 14th (12.4) and Majok Majok 15th (11.8).
• The Cardinals are one of only four teams in the league with three players averaging double-figure scoring. Western Michigan, Ohio and Buffalo are the others.
Home vs. Road in League Play
• Since the start of conference play this season, Ball State has found more success on the road than it has at home.
• The Cardinals are 2-3 on the road in league play and 1-4 at home after picking up their first MAC home win Saturday against Western Michigan.
• Here is a comparison of the team's offensive numbers at home and on the road in MAC play ...
Road MAC Games: 64.4 ppg, 49.0% FG, 37.4% 3PT
Home MAC Games: 59.0 ppg, 38.0% FG, 27.2% 3PT
• Junior forward Majok Majok is one of 14 players in the nation averaging a double-double at 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
• 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, who leads the MAC with eight double-doubles, is averaging 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in league play.
• With 18 points and 17 rebounds Dec. 5 against Holy Cross (Ind.), he became the first Ball State player since Cameron Echols in 2002 with at least 18 points and 17 rebounds in a game.
• Majok was named the MAC West Player of the Week on both Dec. 10 and Jan. 28.
Majok on the Glass
• For the season, Majok Majok ranks 15th nationally and leads the Mid-American Conference at 10.0 rebounds per game.
• Majok's 46 rebounds over Ball State's three games from Dec. 5 through Dec. 15 were the most in a three-game stretch by a Cardinal since Theron Smith grabbed 46 over three conference games from Jan. 5-12, 2002.
• Ball State is 3-7 in conference play, but the Cardinals have either led or been within one point during the second half in five of their seven losses.
• Here is a closer look at those five games:
Opponent -- Leading or trailing by one (Time) -- Final score
Kent State (1/12) -- BSU trailed 45-44 (6:55) -- Kent State won 61-47
Akron (1/16) -- BSU trailed 47-46 (10:48) -- Akron won 71-64
Central Michigan (1/19) -- BSU led 41-35 (18:04) -- Central Michigan won 71-57
Buffalo (1/23) -- BSU led 49-46 (8:29) -- Buffalo won 66-63
Toledo (1/30) -- BSU led 47-43 (15:07) -- Toledo won 85-78
Cleaning Up on the Glass
• Ball State has out-rebounded eight of its first 10 Mid-American Conference opponents, including Miami by 20 (37-17), Toledo by 16 (41-25) and Eastern Michigan by 13 (29-16).
• The Cardinals were out-rebounded for just the second time in league play Saturday against Western Michigan (37-25).
• Ball State has out-rebounded its opponents by an average of 35.0 to 29.8 in league play for a +5.2 margin that ranks third in the MAC.
• For the season, the Cardinals are +3.2 on the boards on average.
Scaife, Berry on Career Treys List
• Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is now second on BSU's career 3-pointers list with 176, behind only Patrick Jackson (1998-2002), who holds the school record at 202.
• Junior guard Jesse Berry is quickly climbing the list, as well. He now owns 142 career 3-pointers to tie for sixth in school history. Berry is 12 treys away from cracking the top five.
Scaife Joins 1,000-Point Club
• With 17 points Jan. 16 at Akron, senior guard Jauwan Scaife surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career.
• The local product from Muncie Central High School became the 26th member of Ball State's 1,000-point club. He now owns 1,136 points to rank 22nd in school history.
High Volume Rebounding
• Despite having his minutes limited for much of the season with a back problem, junior forward Matt Kamieniecki ranks second on the team at 5.8 rebounds per game.
• Kamieniecki averages 12.3 rebounds per 40 minutes for the second-best average on the team behind Majok Majok (12.9).
• By comparison, Siena's O.D. Anosike, who is tied for the national lead with 11.9 rebounds per game, is pulling down 12.6 boards per 40 minutes.
Berry's Explosive Performances
• Junior guard Jesse Berry scored 20 points Jan. 26 at Miami for his fifth 20-point game of the season and the seventh of his career.
• Berry, the MAC West Player of the Week twice this season and three times in his career, scored a career-best 28 points Nov. 28 against Cleveland State.
• He went for 22 in back-to-back games Dec. 15 at South Dakota and Dec. 18 at Purdue, and he scored 21 in the non-conference finale against Norfolk State.
• Ball State's lineup Saturday against Western Michigan of Jauwan Scaife and Marcus Posley in the backcourt plus Chris Bond, Matt Kamieniecki and Zach Fields in the frontcourt marked just the third different lineup combination for Ball State this season.
• Jesse Berry, Scaife, Bond, Majok, and Fields have composed the starting lineup for 17 games. Kamieniecki has taken Fields' place in the other four.
Bond Knows How to Finish
• Junior forward Chris Bond has connected on 52.3 percent of his career field goal attempts, which is on pace to rank seventh in school history.
• Bond is shooting 56.3 percent in MAC play this season (third-best in the league), including an 8-for-8 effort at Eastern Michigan, where he scored a career-high 18 points and hit the game-winning free throws.
Bond Stealing the Show
• Chris Bond ranks first in the Mid-American Conference in steals with an average of 2.2 per game and first in league games only at 2.5 per game.
• Bond matched his career-high with five steals, all in the second half, Jan. 26 at Miami.
• He has had seven games this year with at least four steals.
• Bond's 48 steals have already surpassed his previous career high of 29 steals last season.
Majok's Dunk a Finalist for Play of the Year
• Majok Majok's buzzer-beating dunk to defeat Norfolk State on Jan. 2 won its round of fan voting to become a finalist for the GEICO Play of the Year.
• The play beat out three others during its week of voting and will be one of eight finalists up for the award in another round of fan voting in March at facebook.com/BestofCollegeBasketball. All eight finalists will appear on the Best of College Basketball show April 6 on CBS.
Posley the Distributor
• Freshman guard Marcus Posley leads the Ball State guards with a 1.7-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.
• Posley has reached five assists in five games this year, including a career-best six helpers without a turnover in the season-opening win over Grambling State.
• In all five of those games, Posley has had one turnover or fewer.
Fields Gets Smaller to Play Bigger Role
• After four years in the program, fifth-year senior center Zach Fields made his first career start in the season opener against Grambling State and has gone on to start 18 of Ball State's 22 games.
• The 6-foot-10 Fields, who has lost 30 pounds in an effort to make a greater impact, is averaging 17.4 minutes per game this year after never logging more than 5.4 minutes per game previously.
• Fields made the most of the opportunity in the opener versus Grambling, logging career highs with 10 points and eight rebounds. His previous career bests were four points and four boards.
Second-Half Shooting Improvement
• Ball State has been a better shooting team and a higher scoring team in the second half of games this season.
• The Cardinals are shooting 45.4 percent in the second half of games compared to 39.1 percent in the first half. BSU is scoring 34.0 points in the second half compared to 28.8 in the first.
• Ball State's interior players have been especially efficient over the final 20 minutes of games with Majok Majok shooting 57.6 percent, Chris Bond 57.1 percent and Zach Fields 54.8 percent in the second half of games.
Ramey Misses Time
• Freshman guard Michael Ramey has been out for the past 11 games as he recovers from an illness suffered in December.
• Ramey played in 10 of the Cardinals' first 11 games and scored in double figures twice -- 11 points versus Wofford and 10 against Holy Cross (Ind.).
One of the Best in the West
• Ball State has finished among the top three in the MAC West Division in each of the past four seasons, including first- or second-place finishes in three of those years.
• The Cardinals tied for the division crown in 2008-09 and finished second in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. Last year, Ball State tied for third in the West.