The Ball State men’s basketball team will continue a challenging non-conference stretch Saturday with a 7 p.m. game at Cleveland State.
The Cardinals (2-3) traveled across the country after a loss at undefeated Utah late Wednesday. They will square off with a Cleveland State team (3-3) that came within minutes of knocking off No. 3 Kentucky earlier this week.
• Radio: Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); David Eha (Analyst)
• Video: Horizon League Network at horizonleague.org
• Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats available at csuvikings.com.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State fell to 2-3 on the season with an 88-69 loss Wednesday at Utah.
• The Cardinals fought back from a 15-point deficit to climb within six in the second half before the Utes pulled away down the stretch.
• Ball State’s three losses have come against teams with a combined record of 15-3 through games of Nov. 29: Indiana State (4-2), Butler (5-1) and Utah (6-0).
• The Cardinals put five scorers in double figures at Utah for the first time since last year’s season opener against Grambling State. Zavier Turner scored 15, followed by Jesse Berry with 13, Majok Majok with 12 and Franko House and Mark Alstork with 10 each.
• Majok recorded his third straight double-double and his 12th in 35 career games at Ball State with 12 points and 13 rebounds against the Utes.
• A preseason All-Mid-American Conference pick, Majok is averaging 10.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.
• Turner, a freshman point guard, leads the Cardinals with averages of 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game.
• Seniors Jesse Berry (14.2 ppg) and Chris Bond (10.2 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Berry is nine points away from joining Ball State’s 1,000-point club.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
• Ball State’s strength of schedule so far this season is ranked No. 54 in the country according to WarrenNolan.com.
• The Cardinals’ three losses this season have come against teams with a combined record of 15-3 through games of Nov. 29.
• Utah (6-0) is unbeaten, while Butler (5-1) has only one loss, which came against No. 5 Oklahoma State.
• Indiana State (4-2) has a pair of one-point losses to Belmont and Tulsa.
• The challenging stretch continues with the next three games against Cleveland State (3-3), Valparaiso (5-3) and Marquette (5-2).
Scouting Cleveland State
• Cleveland State is 3-3 on the season, having alternated wins and losses through its first six games of the year.
• The Vikings are coming off a 68-61 loss at No. 3 Kentucky in a game they led for more than 36 minutes.
• CSU’s other losses have come at San Francisco and Eastern Michigan, while its wins have come over Iona, UT Arlington and Robert Morris.
• Bryn Forbes leads three Vikings averaging double figures at 20.0 points per game, followed by Trey Lewis (13.0) and Charlie Lee (12.8).
• Cleveland State is scoring 75.8 points per game while allowing opponents to score 76.0 on average.
The Series with Cleveland State
• Ball State and Cleveland State will be playing for the sixth time, with the Vikings owning a 3-2 lead in the series.
• The teams met last season for the first time since 1975, and Cleveland State posted a 69-63 win in Muncie.
• The other four meetings between the teams came in a four-year span from 1972-75 with each team winning twice on its home court during that stretch.
Last Year vs. Cleveland State
• Jesse Berry scored a career-high 28 points, but Ball State saw Cleveland State come from behind to hand the Cardinals a 69-63 loss at Worthen Arena, Nov. 28, 2012.
• Cleveland State guard Bryn Forbes led three-double figure scorers for the Vikings with 18 points, all of which came in the second half. Backcourt mate Charlie Lee added 16 points and forward Devon Long finished with 10.
• The Cardinals made eight of their first 11 shots as a team and led by as many as 12 points early at 18-6.
• Cleveland State clawed its way back by generating takeaways and attacking the boards. The Vikings forced 19 turnovers in the game and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. They out-scored Ball State in second-chance points by a 19-6 margin.
• Ball State still led 49-42 with 12:26 to play, but Cleveland State went on a 20-4 run to grab the lead.
• Ball State managed to get back within four on a 3-pointer from Berry with 11 seconds left in the game, but the Cardinals could get no closer.
• Chris Bond joined Berry in double figures for Ball State with 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game.
• 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 led the Cardinals with 15 points Wednesday at Utah and had now scored at least 15 in four of Ball State’s five games.
• Zavier Turner has nailed 15 of his 26 attempts from 3-point range to lead the Mid-American Conference in 3-point percentage (.577).
• He leads the MAC in made 3-pointers per game with an average of 3.0.
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in four of the Cardinals’ five games.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also leads the MAC in free throw percentage (.938) and ranks among the top 10 in the league assists per game (4.0, 7th), minutes per game (31.8, 8th) and points per game (15.2, 10th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories except for scoring (Eastern Michigan’s Raven Lee leads at 15.3 ppg).
Majok Majok’s Double-Doubles
• Senior center Majok Majok has recorded double-doubles in his past three games -- 11 points and 12 rebounds versus Southeast Missouri, 15 points and 11 boards against Butler, and 12 points and 13 rebounds at Utah.
• He is averaging a double-double through five games at 10.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.
• Majok now has 12 double-doubles in his two seasons at Ball State.
• He ranked third in the MAC with nine double-doubles last year in his first season at Ball State and nearly averaged a double-double for the season at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Majok on the Glass
• Majok Majok leads Ball State, ranks second in the MAC and checks in tied for 17th in the nation with 11.0 rebounds per game.
• He has recorded four straight double-digit rebounding games, including a 16-rebound effort against Taylor that was one shy of his career high.
• He led the MAC last year and ranked 18th nationally at 9.8 rebounds per game.
• Ball State played three of its first four games at home, but the Cardinals’ game Wednesday at Utah marked the beginning of a stretch in which the team will play five out of six on the road.
• The Cardinals will return home to play Wednesday against Valparaiso in their only home game in a five-week stretch.
• The team will then go back on the road for three straight to face Marquette, Southern Illinois and James Madison.
Crashing the Boards
• Ball State ranks third in the MAC this year with a +6.4 average rebounding margin and third with 38.4 rebounds per game.
• The Cardinals, which were third in the league in rebounding margin last year, held a dominating 53-25 advantage on the boards Nov. 12 against Taylor.
• Ball State features two of the top 10 rebounders in the MAC in Majok Majok (10.5, 2nd) and freshman forward Franko House (6.4, 9th).
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.
• Freshman Zavier Turner leads the team in scoring with 15.2 points per game, while freshmen also rank first and second on the team in assists -- Turner 20 and Quinten Payne 13.
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 the staff of Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona, including the past two as the Wildcats’ associate head coach.
• He also has previous MAC experience with 11 years on the staff 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.
Berry Closing in on 1,000
• Senior guard Jesse Berry is just nine points away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
• Berry would become 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 went for 23 points in the season opener at Indiana State. He has now reached the 20-point mark in 10 games for his career, including seven times last year as a junior.
Berry from Downtown
• Jesse Berry has moved into third place on Ball State’s all-time 3-pointers list with 169 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 482 3-point attempts.
• Former Ball State teammate Jauwan Scaife set the school record for 3-pointers last year, finishing his career with 203 treys.
• Berry shot a career-best 37.5 percent from beyond the arc last season and raised his percentage to 41.2 during MAC play.
Kamieniecki to Miss Season
• Senior post player Matt Kamieniecki will sit out the season after undergoing wrist surgery. He will redshirt this season 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.
• Majok led the MAC and ranked 18th nationally in rebounding last year. He averaged nearly a double-double at 10.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• Berry is the team’s top returning scorer. He ranked second on last year’s team at 12.8 points per game, trailing only departed senior Jauwan Scaife’s 16.6 points per game.
• Ball State’s two additional returning letterwinners are both sophomores in forward Bo Calhoun and guard Chase Brogna.
Relying on Young Talent
• Ball State brought in a class of four scholarship freshmen, all of whom are averaging at least 16 minutes per game.
• Freshman Zavier Turner, an all-state point guard from Pike High School in Indianapolis, is being asked to shoulder much of the ball handling load for the Cardinals.
• The class of scholarship newcomers also includes guards Mark Alstork from Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton and Quinten Payne from North High School in St. Charles, Ill., along with post player Franko House from Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind.
Majok Tabbed Preseason All-MAC
• Majok Majok was named to the preseason All-MAC West Division Team in a vote of media from around the league. 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.