MBB Visits NIU Saturday to Close Regular Season
Ball State at Northern Illinois
Saturday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. CT (4:30 p.m. ET) -- NIU Convocation Center (DeKalb, Ill.)
• Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Joel Godett (play-by-play); David Eha (analyst)
• Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live video at mac-sports.com; Live stats at niuhuskies.com
What You Need to Know
• Ball State (5-23, 2-15 MAC) will close the regular season Saturday with its second meeting of the year against Northern Illinois.
• The Cardinals will be either the No. 11 or 12 seed in the MAC Tournament and still have two possibilities for first-round road games. Ball State will play Monday night at Ohio or Eastern Michigan.
• The Cardinals feature two 1,000-point scorers on the same team for the first time since 2001-02 with Jesse Berry at 1,243 and Bond at 1,038.
• Berry, who is averaging 16.9 points per game over the past seven contests, owns the school record for 3-pointers in a career with 222.
• Majok Majok is one of 14 players in the country averaging a double-double at 11.1 points and 10.2 boards per game. His rebounding average is 14th in the country.
• Freshman guard Zavier Turner ranks fifth on Ball State’s all-time freshman scoring list with 345 points.
• Freshmen have accounted for better than 40 percent of Ball State’s minutes and scoring, and the Cardinals started three rookies for much of the year.
• Ken Pomeroy rates Ball State’s non-conference schedule No. 41 in the country. The Cardinals have played only seven teams all season outside the Pomeroy top 200.
Scouting Northern Illinois
• Northern Illinois (13-16, 7-10 MAC) is coming off road losses at Eastern Michigan (56-52) and Western Michigan (61-56).
• Before those games, the Huskies defeated MAC co-leader Toledo (74-66).
• Jordan Threloff leads the Huskies in conference play at 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
• In MAC play, Northern Illinois leads the league in rebounding margin (+4.2) and ranks second in scoring defense (62.3).
The Series with Northern Illinois
• Ball State and Northern Illinois will be meeting for the 83rd time with the Cardinals leading 49-33 in the all-time series.
• Ball State won both meetings last season, but Northern Illinois claimed a 67-65, overtime victory Feb. 1 in this season’s first meeting.
• That Northern Illinois victory snapped a seven-game Ball State winning streak in the series.
• Northern Illinois holds a 21-17 advantage over the Cardinals on its home court, but Ball State has won its past four trips to DeKalb.
Last Time versus Northern Illinois
• Ball State led by 10 in the second half, but Northern Illinois escaped Muncie with a 67-65, overtime victory Feb. 1.
• Ball State’s Chris Bond led all players with 16 points, while Aaric Armstead paced NIU with 14.
• Huskie guard Travon Baker hit a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime and then hit another one in the extra period to give NIU the lead for good.
• Ball State left the door open by shooting 14 for 28 from the free throw line in the game.
If the Tournament Started Today
• Ball State would be the No. 12 seed in the MAC Tournament if it started today. The Cardinals would play a first-round road game against the No. 5 seed, which would be Ohio at the moment.
• Ball State could still claim the No. 11 seed if it catches Central Michigan in the standings. The Cardinals trail the Chippewas by one game with one to play.
• Based on the results of this weekend’s games, Ball State’s first-round opponent will be either Ohio or Eastern Michigan.
• Ball State and Central Michigan have split their two head-to-head meetings and would have the same record against division opponents if they wound up tied, but the Cardinals would win the tiebreaker by virtue of having the best win (Buffalo).
Cardinals Excel on the Boards
• One of the biggest areas of strength for Ball State this season has been rebounding.
• The Cardinals own a +3.9 average rebounding margin for the season, which ranks second in the MAC behind only Northern Illinois (+4.8).
• Ball State outrebounded the Huskies by a 44-38 margin in the first meeting between the teams this season.
• The Cardinals have outrebounded 13 of their 17 MAC opponents, including the past five in a row.
Berry Finding Form
• After struggling with his shooting touch through the first two-thirds of the season, Jesse Berry has returned to form over the past three weeks.
• Berry has averaged 16.9 points per game over the past seven games, scoring at least 17 in six of them, while shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and 42.6 percent from 3-point range.
• Over the first 21 games of the season, Berry averaged 9.8 points on 31.5 percent shooting and 26.8 percent from beyond the arc.
• Ball State is 2-15 in conference play, but the Cardinals were on the verge of winning a number of other games.
• The Cardinals led in the final 90 seconds against Northern Illinois (3 points, Feb. 1), Bowling Green (3 points, Feb. 15), Central Michigan (7 points, Feb. 19) and Western Michigan (1 point, Feb. 26) but came up short in all four, including three in overtime.
• The Cardinals were within five points or fewer in the closing minutes the first time against Western Michigan (Jan. 26) and twice against Toledo (Feb. 8 and Feb. 23) but came up short against both.
Cardinals Playing Extra Time
• Ball State has gone to overtime in three of its past 10 games after not playing an overtime game in nearly three full seasons.
• The Cardinals’ Feb. 1 overtime loss to Northern Illinois was their first overtime game since March 10, 2011 -- a span of 1,060 days.
• Ball State then played three overtimes Feb. 19 at Central Michigan and one overtime Feb. 26 against Western Michigan.
• The triple-overtime game at Central Michigan was just the fifth in Ball State history and the first since the 2000 season.
Home and Away
• Ball State has performed better at home this season, winning five games at Worthen Arena and having chances late in several others.
• The Cardinals’ shooting numbers have been virtually the same no matter where they play -- 40.6 percent at home and 40.4 percent on the road.
• The biggest difference has come on the defensive end of the floor, where Ball State is allowing opponents to shoot 49.4 percent overall and 39.6 percent from 3-point range on the road.
• At home, the Cardinals are holding opponents to 42.7 percent shooting and 26.6 percent from beyond the arc.
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 13.2 per game in its wins compared to 17.6 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.
• Chris Bond became the second Ball State player this season to join the 1,000-point club when he scored a career-high 22 Feb. 8 at Toledo. He now has 1,038 career points.
• Jesse Berry surpassed 1,000 points for his career Nov. 30 at Cleveland State. He now owns 1,243 career points to rank 18th on the Cardinals’ all-time scoring list.
• A total of 28 players in program history have reached 1,000 points.
• This is the first time the Cardinals have had two 1,000-point scorers on the same team since Theron Smith and Patrick Jackson in 2001-02.
All-Time 3-Point Leader
• Senior guard Jesse Berry broke the Ball State career record for 3-pointers Feb. 15 against Bowling Green.
• He now owns 222 treys, surpassing the previous record of 203 held by former teammate Jauwan Scaife (2009-13).
• Berry also owns the school record for career 3’s attempted (649).
Bond Having His Best Season Yet
• Senior forward Chris Bond is averaging a career-high 12.6 points per game in his final season. His 13.9 points-per-game average in MAC play ranks 10th in the league.
• He posted back-to-back career-highs with 21 points Feb. 19 at Central Michigan and 22 points Feb. 23 at Toledo.
• Bond has reached double figures in 17 of the past 18 games and has notched at least 16 points in a game eight times this season.
Ball State’s Iron Man
• Chris Bond has made 59 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 97 games in his career, including all 86 in which he has played over the past three seasons.
Bond Keeping Good Company
• Chris Bond now owns career totals of 1,038 points, 605 rebounds and 147 steals.
• He is only the second player in Ball State history with at least 1,000 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.
Majok One of the Nation’s Best on the Boards
• Senior center Majok Majok ranks second in the MAC and 14th nationally in rebounding at 10.2 boards per game.
• Majok owns 17 double-digit rebounding games this season, including a career-best 18-rebound effort Jan. 3 against Oakland City.
• 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 a double-double at 11.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Only 14 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 10 double-doubles on the year and 19 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 2005.
Turner from Beyond the Arc
• Freshman point guard Zavier Turner ranks third in the MAC in 3-point percentage (.417) and seventh in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.1).
• Turner has hit at least three 3-pointers in 12 of the Cardinals’ 28 games, including a career-high four on four separate occasions.
More Turner Rankings
• Zavier Turner also ranks in the top 20 in the MAC in free throw percentage (.875, 3rd), assists per game (3.6, 6th), minutes per game (32.6, 9th) and points per game (12.3, 18th).
• He leads MAC freshmen in each of those categories (including the ones in the previous note).
Historical View of Turner’s Numbers
• Zavier Turner is climbing Ball State’s all-time chart for scoring by a freshman. His 345 points rank fifth on the list, just one shy of Jarrod Jones (2008-09) for fourth.
• Turner ranks second on the team at 12.3 points per game and has reached double figures 19 times.
• Earlier this season, 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.
Persistent Crowder Gets His Chance
• Walk-on guard Kindon Crowder scored a career-high 10 points in 16 minutes Feb. 12 against Eastern Michigan, nearly doubling his previous season total of 11 points.
• He played a career-high 23 minutes in the Feb. 19 triple-overtime game at Central Michigan.
• Crowder, a former team manager, has seen action in 15 games.
• 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.
Youth and Experience
• Of the 11 Ball State players to see regular time this year, five are seniors and five are freshmen.
• The freshmen have stepped in to make an immediate impact, accounting for more than 40 percent of the team’s minutes and scoring.