GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals will be at home first in a rare back-to-
back non-conference home-and-home series, as the South Dakota Coyotes visit
Worthen Arena on Saturday.
This will be the first meeting between these schools on the hardwood. They
both return to action next Saturday, Dec. 15 when Ball State visits South
Dakota for an instant grudge match.
The Coyotes are coming off of an 87-63 setback at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to Iowa
they suffered on Tuesday. The defeat dropped South Dakota to 4-5 overall and
it is also 1-1 in Summit League action after enduring a close loss to Western
Illinois (73-71) before completing a rout of IUPUI (88-68). Coach Dave Boots'
squad is averaging 72.9 ppg, but it is allowing opponents to score 75.4 ppg so
Ball State ended a four-game losing slide its last time out with an easy 76-57
victory over NAIA program Holy Cross (Ind.). Prior to that, the Cardinals were
handed losses by Indiana State, Indiana, Cleveland State, and Butler. Coach
Billy Taylor has a chance to guide his team back to .500 in this one as it
enters with a 3-4 mark. Taylor's squad is scoring only 62.4 ppg on 39.8
percent shooting from the field while allowing 67.7 ppg. Three-point shooting
is a weakness for BSU, as it has made less than a quarter of its attempts from
beyond the arc.
South Dakota could not match its Big Ten opponent up front its last time out,
as Iowa outscored South Dakota 54-14 in the paint and tallied 24 second chance
points. The Hawkeyes also had a 50-32 edge in rebounds and brought down 20
offensive boards. Junior center Trevor Gruis led the Coyotes with 16 points
and freshman guard Casey Kasperbauer added 14 points in the loss. Senior guard
Juevol Myles, who leads the team with 14.9 points and 4.2 assists per game,
finished 2-of-12 from the floor for eight points with two assists to six
turnovers. Gruis and junior guard Karim Rowson are tied for second on the
squad in scoring with 11.8 ppg each.
The Cardinals looked like a powerhouse versus their NAIA opponent on Wednesday
as they outscored the Saints 36-18 in the paint and forced them into 18
turnovers. Ball State's outside shooting woes continued as it converted only
5-of-18 from long range, but it did manage to convert 42.4 percent of its
field goal attempts. Majok Majok dominated inside with a monster double-double
of 18 points and 17 rebounds. The junior forward is now averaging a double-
double of 13.7 points and 10.1 boards per game, both of which are team-leading
marks. Junior guard Jesse Berry is a decent scorer from the backcourt with
12.7 ppg and Marcus Polsey's passing skills are yielding 3.1 assists per
Ball State will have to slow the tempo down to pick up their second win in a
row. If it is able to do so, Majok's overpowering post play will be of much
greater value. The Coyotes are capable of taking this one, especially if they
find success from distance early on the contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Dakota 68, Ball State 64
12/08 10:33:21 ET
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