The Ball State men’s basketball team hosts Northern Illinois for a 2 p.m. tipoff Saturday at Worthen Arena as Mid-American Conference action continues.
The Cardinals (4-14, 1-6 MAC) return home after Wednesday’s loss at defending league champion Akron. Northern Illinois (8-11, 2-5 MAC) is coming off a 50-49 road win at Kent State.
Ball State will be honoring the 50-year anniversary of its 1963-64 team at the game.
Ball State vs. Northern Illinois
Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. ET -- Worthen Arena (Muncie, Ind.)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); David Eha (analyst)
• Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Luke Martin (play-by-play), Sean Stewart (analyst) & Petar Hood (sidelines)
• Internet: Live video and audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats also available.
What You Need to Know
• Ball State will host Northern Illinois for the first of two meetings this season between the MAC West Division foes. The Cardinals will travel to DeKalb, Ill., for the final game of the regular season.
• Ball State is coming off a 73-46 loss Wednesday at MAC East Division leader Akron.
• The Cardinals have been balanced offensively with four players averaging double figures: freshman Zavier Turner (12.2 ppg) and seniors Chris Bond (11.5), Majok Majok (11.2) and Jesse Berry (10.0).
• 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 11.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
• A preseason All-MAC West Division selection, Majok leads the MAC and ranks 21st 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 eight games, Ball State has started three freshmen: Turner, Mark Alstork and Franko House.
• 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. 46 according to Ken Pomeroy.
• Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.
Honoring 1963-64 Team
• Ball State is honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1963-64 men’s basketball team at Saturday’s game.
• The team will be recognized at a timeout during the game.
• The Cardinals, coached by Jim Hinga, posted a 17-8 record in 1963-64 and advanced to the second round of the college division postseason.
• Twelve members of the team are expected back, including Ed Butler, who led the squad with 21.8 points and 17.7 rebounds per game.
• Butler is still Ball State’s career rebounding leader with 1,231 in just three seasons (17.3 per game).
Chase Brogna Withdraws for Medical Reasons
• Chase Brogna, who has been out of action since suffering a concussion in early December, has withdrawn from classes for medical reasons.
• Brogna, a sophomore guard from Houston, Texas, intends to return to the program next season.
• Brogna played in two games this season before being sidelined. He played in 15 games with one start as a freshman last season.
Scouting Northern Illinois
• Northern Illinois (8-11, 2-5 MAC) snapped a four-game losing streak and picked up its second conference win with a 50-49 victory Wednesday at Kent State.
• The Huskies will play the rest of the year without top scorer Dontel Highsmith, who averaged 10.5 points per game through 11 contests before suffering a torn ACL.
• Darrell Bowie leads the remaining Huskies with 9.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
• Travon Baker paces Northern Illinois in league play at 11.6 points per game through seven MAC contests.
• The Huskies are shooting 38.1 percent from the floor and 26.6 percent from 3-point range, but they own the second-best average rebounding margin in the conference at +4.9.
The Series with Northern Illinois
• Ball State and Northern Illinois will be meeting for the 82nd time in a series that dates back to 1941.
• The Cardinals and Huskies have met at least twice every year since Northern Illinois joined the MAC for the 1997-98 season.
• Ball State holds a 49-32 lead in the all-time series.
• The Cardinals have won seven in a row over the Huskies and 11 of the past 14.
• Ball State won two close games with Northern Illinois last season, claiming a 56-52 victory in DeKalb (Feb. 13, 2013) and a 53-51 win in Muncie in the regular-season finale (March 9, 2013).
• Ball State is 30-9 all-time against Northern Illinois in Muncie and 12-5 against the Huskies inside
Cardinals Excel on the Boards
• One of Ball State’s biggest strengths this season has been rebounding.
• The Cardinals own a +3.4 average rebounding margin for the season, which ranks third in the MAC behind only Toledo (+5.6) and Northern Illinois (+4.9).
• In league play, Ball State has a +2.3 average rebounding margin despite being outrebounded in its past two games against Western Michigan (36-34) and Akron (34-28).
• Prior to those two games, the Cardinals had outrebounded eight consecutive opponents.
Making Good at the Foul Line
• Ball State has knocked down 71.2 percent of its free throws as a team this season and 76.2 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 60 free throw shooters in the country in Zavier Turner (.877, 38th) and Jesse Berry (.863, 57th).
• Turner led the nation earlier this season and made 27 straight free throws at one point, while Berry had a streak of 25 straight makes snapped Wednesday 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 16.9 per game.
• Ball State has held its turnovers to 13.5 per game in its wins compared to 17.9 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 11.5 points per game in his final season for the Cardinals.
• Bond has been especially effective of late, reaching double figures in seven of the past eight games and averaging 13.4 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 the Jan. 23 win over Buffalo.
Bond Keeping Good Company
• Chris Bond now owns career totals of 892 points, 531 rebounds and 139 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 49 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 87 games in his career, including all 76 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 21st nationally in rebounding at 9.8 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 just shy of a double-double at 11.2 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 10.9 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 eight.
• 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 eight games.
• Bond has started all 18 games this season, while Turner and Majok have each made 17 starts.
Turner’s Fast Start
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner is leading the Cardinals with averages of 12.2 points and 3.4 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 second in the MAC in 3-point percentage (.427) 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’ 18 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 (32.1, 6th), assists per game (3.4, 8th) and points per game (12.2, 18th).
• 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 11 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 192 for his career. He ranks second in school history with 565 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 1,100 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.