Cardinals Host NIU Saturday for MBB Senior Day
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's basketball team closes out the regular season Saturday with a 2 p.m. home game against Northern Illinois at Worthen Arena.
The Cardinals (14-14, 7-8 MAC) have won four games in a row and six of their past seven, while Northern Illinois (5-23, 3-12 MAC) has suffered losses in nine straight.
Mid-American Conference Tournament seeding is on the line as the Cardinals would secure the No. 5 seed and a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference with a victory Saturday.
Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Play-by-play: Joel Godett; Analyst: Jerry Peirson
Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Play-by-play: Sean Stewart; Analyst: Donnie Kolakowski, Tyler Bradfield
Internet: Live video, audio and stats at ballstatesports.com
Ball State holds a 48-32 lead in the all-time series with Northern Illinois.
The Cardinals have won six in a row over the Huskies and nine of the past 12.
Ball State defeated Northern Illinois 56-52 on Feb. 13 in DeKalb, Ill., in their first meeting this season. Jauwan Scaife scored a game-high 23 points in the win.
Ball State is 29-9 all-time against Northern Illinois in Muncie and 11-5 against the Huskies inside Worthen Arena.
A Quick Look at the Cardinals
Ball State enters its final regular-season game with wins in four straight and six of its past seven.
The Cardinals were 2-7 through their first nine league games but now find themselves at 7-8 in conference play (14-14 overall).
Before Saturday's game, the Cardinals will honor seniors Jauwan Scaife and Zach Fields.
The Cardinals are coming off an 89-85 win Tuesday at MAC West leader Western Michigan, marking their fourth straight game with at least 85 points (all wins).
Junior guard Jesse Berry matched his career-high with 28 points at WMU, while Scaife scored 21 and Chris Bond 15. Majok Majok had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Scaife is averaging 25.0 points per game over the past seven contests and has moved into a tie for the MAC scoring lead in conference play at 20.1 points per game in league action.
He has been named MAC West Player of the Week twice in the past three weeks.
Scaife leads Ball State for the season at 16.2 points per game, followed by Berry at 13.3 per game and Majok at 10.8.
Majok, who leads the MAC and ranks 16th nationally in rebounding at 10.1 boards per game, is one of 15 players in the country averaging a double-double.
Scouting Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois has lost its past nine games to drop to 5-23 overall and 3-12 in the MAC.
The Huskies will be seeded between No. 9 and No. 11 for the MAC Tournament.
Abdel Nader leads the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game, but the sophomore forward has missed the Huskies' past two games.
Junior forward Aksel Bolin has the next highest scoring average among the active Huskies at 7.3 points per game.
Northern Illinois averages 54.4 points per game and shoots 35.9 percent as a team, but the Huskies also own the No. 5 scoring defense in the MAC at 63.8 points per game.
More on Tuesday's Win at Western Michigan
Ball State used a 14-point run late in the first half to take control Tuesday and then sealed the 89-85 win at the foul line in a second half that featured 38 combined fouls and 69 total free throw attempts between the teams.
Ball State was 31 for 40 from the stripe in the second half, while Western Michigan was 16 for 29.
The Cardinals led by as many as 19 in the second half. WMU cut the lead to as few as three points in the final minute, but the Cardinals finished it off at the line.
It was Ball State's first win in Kalamazoo since 2005, which was also the last time the Cardinals swept the season series from the Broncos.
MAC Tournament Positioning
With Buffalo's loss Friday night at Bowling Green, Ball State can now secure the No. 5 seed in the MAC Tournament with a win over Northern Illinois. The No. 5 seed comes with a first-round bye in this year's 11-team tournament (Toledo is ineligible for postseason play).
BSU and Eastern Michigan could finish in a tie for No. 5 at 8-8, but the Cardinals hold the tiebreaker by virtue of sweeping MAC West leader Western Michigan (EMU went 1-1 vs. WMU).
If Northern Illinois wins Saturday's contest, Ball State would host a first-round tournament game Monday night against Central Michigan, Northern Illinois or Miami.
Akron, Ohio, Western Michigan and Kent State have locked up the top four seeds.
Ball State's past four games have been the team's four highest-scoring games of the season.
The Cardinals are averaging 88.8 points over that stretch, scoring at least 85 in each with a season-high 95 in the Feb. 27 win over Central Michigan.
Ball State averaged 62.0 points over its first 24 games of the season.
It is the first time a Ball State team has reached 85 points in four consecutive games since the 1973-74 team did it in six straight during January of that season.
The 95 points against Central Michigan were the most for Ball State in a conference game since a 96-86 victory over Eastern Michigan in January 2005.
More on the Four Straight Wins
During its current four-game winning streak, Ball State is shooting 48.4 percent from the floor, 46.8 percent from 3-point range and 75.8 percent from the foul line as a team.
Jauwan Scaife and Jesse Berry have combined for 28 made 3-pointers (14 each) over the four wins. That is an average of seven per game between the two of them.
BSU has out-rebounded its opponents by an average margin of 41.5 to 30.0 during the streak.
The Cardinals have actually turned the ball over 14 more times that their opponents (63-49) during the streak.
Scaife MAC Player of the Year Candidate
At 20.1 points per game in MAC play, Jauwan Scaife has moved into a tie for the MAC scoring lead in conference play with Buffalo's Javon McCrea.
Scaife's scoring average in league games is the highest by a Ball State player since Chris Williams scored 25.5 points per game during the conference slate in the 2002-03 season.
Skip Mills averaged 17.9 points in during league play for the 2005-06 season and Peyton Stovall averaged 17.9 over the 2004-05 league slate.
Scaife has put up his impressive numbers in league by bouncing back from a slow start to his season, in which he averaged 9.5 points through the first 10 games.
Scaife Coming up Huge Down the Stretch
Senior guard Jauwan Scaife is averaging 25.0 points over the past seven games (Ball State is 6-1) and 23.3 points per game over the past 10 contests.
He has recorded two of the six 30-point performances by MAC players in league games and is one of only two players in the conference (Buffalo's Javon McCrea) with multiple 30-point games this year -- 30 against Western Michigan (Feb. 9) and 34 against Central Michigan (Feb. 27).
Scaife's 34 points vs. CMU are the most in a game by any player in the MAC this season, while his 12 league games with at least 17 points are the most in the conference.
He became the first Cardinal with 30 points in a game since Peyton Stovall (37 vs. IPFW on Dec. 31, 2007) and the first with 30 in a MAC contest since Skip Mills (38 at Buffalo on March 6, 2006).
Scaife in Crunch Time
Jauwan Scaife scored seven points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, in the final 1:33 of the Feb. 23 win at Southeast Missouri.
Over the past 10 games, Scaife is scoring more than one-third of his points in the final five minutes of games. He is logging 8.2 of his 23.3 average in the last five minutes over that 10-game stretch while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor, 56.3 percent from 3-point range and 86.0 percent from the foul line in those last five minutes.
Berry on Fire
Junior guard Jesse Berry has scored double figures in three straight games and reached the 20-point mark in the past two.
Berry scored 22 last Saturday at Toledo and then matched his career high with 28 Tuesday at Western Michigan.
Over those two games, he has shot 66.7 percent (10 for 15) from 3-point range and 81.8 percent (18 for 22) from the foul line while scoring a combined 50 points in just 47 minutes on the court.
Berry has now reached the 20-point mark seven times this season and nine times in his career.
Bond Knows How to Finish
Over the past three games, junior forward Chris Bond has connected on 70.3 percent of his shots from the floor and averaged 15.7 points.
Bond has connected on 53.3 percent of his career field goal attempts, which is on pace to rank seventh in school history.
He is shooting 59.8 percent in MAC play this season (second-best in the league), including an 8-for-8 effort Jan. 9 at Eastern Michigan, where he scored a career-high 18 points and hit the game-winning free throws in the final second.
Junior forward Majok Majok is one of 15 players in the country averaging a double-double at 10.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
Majok, who ranks third in the MAC with nine double-doubles on the year, has posted nearly identical numbers in league play at 10.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in league play.
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.
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 on the Glass
For the season, Majok Majok ranks 16th nationally and leads the Mid-American Conference at 10.1 rebounds per game. He has had seven games this year with 13 or more boards.
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.
Scaife in the Record Books
Jauwan Scaife surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career earlier this season at Akron.
The local product from Muncie Central High School became the 26th member of Ball State's 1,000-point club. He now owns 1,281 points to rank 16th in school history.
Scaife also ranks among the school's all-time leaders in career games played (118, 8th), minutes played (3,294, 9th), starts (91, T-10th) and free throw percentage (.789, 12th).
Scaife, Berry on Career Treys List
Jauwan Scaife ranks second on BSU's career 3-pointers list with 194, 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 has moved up to No. 5 in program history with 156 career 3-pointers and needs just seven more to move into the top three.
Playing Well on the Road
Ball State has found success away from home this season, posting a 7-6 record on the road, including a 5-3 mark in MAC play.
The Cardinals' seven total road wins are tied for the most in the MAC with Akron, Ohio and Kent State. BSU's five road wins in MAC road games are second only to the seven league wins for the Zips and Bobcats.
In conference games, Ball State is shooting nearly eight percentage points higher on the road than at home (47.8 percent on the road, 40.1 percent at home).
The Cardinals have played better at home late in the season, winning two of their past three games at Worthen Arena.
Cleaning Up on the Glass
Ball State has out-rebounded 12 of its 15 Mid-American Conference opponents.
The Cardinals have out-rebounded their opponent by double digits in five of those games: March 2 at Toledo (45-24), Jan. 26 at Miami (37-17), Jan. 30 vs. Toledo (41-25), Jan. 9 at Eastern Michigan (29-16) and Feb. 16 vs. Eastern Michigan (33-23).
Ball State's +6.4 average rebounding margin in conferences games ranks first in the MAC.
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 6.1 rebounds per game.
Kamieniecki averages 12.0 rebounds per 40 minutes for the second-best average on the team behind Majok Majok (13.0).
Bond Stealing the Show
Chris Bond ranks tied for second in the Mid-American Conference in steals with an average of 2.0 per game and tied for third in league games only at 2.0 per game.
Bond matched his career-high with five steals, all in the second half, Jan. 26 at Miami.
He has had eight games this year with at least four steals.
Bond's 58 steals already have doubled his previous career high of 29 steals last season.
Posley the Distributor
Freshman guard Marcus Posley leads Ball State and ranks eighth in the MAC with 3.0 assists per game and a 1.5-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.
Posley had a career-high eight assists Feb. 23 at Southeast Missouri and dished out five last Saturday at Toledo for his eighth game of the year with at least five assists.
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 20 of Ball State's 28 games.
The 6-foot-10 Fields, who has lost 30 pounds in an effort to make a greater impact, is averaging 15.9 minutes per game this year after never logging more than 5.4 minutes per game previously.
Fields logged career highs with 10 points and eight rebounds in the Grambling State game.
Going Down to the Wire
Ball State has won three games this season in the final second.
The Cardinals defeated Norfolk State on Majok Majok's dunk as time expired Jan. 2, Eastern Michigan on Chris Bond's free throws with no time left Jan. 9 and Southeast Missouri on Jauwan Scaife's 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining Feb. 23.