Ball State (7-8) at Central Michigan (8-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: BSU 5-4, CMU 4-1. Away Record: BSU 2-4, CMU 1-6. Neutral Record: BSU 0-0, CMU 3-1. Conference Record: BSU 1-2, CMU 1-2. Series Record: Ball State leads, 58-30.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals will attempt to stop a two-game losing streak on Saturday when they pay a visit to Worthen Arena for a Mid-American Conference matchup with the Central Michigan Chippewas.
After opening its MAC slate with a win over Eastern Michigan, the Cardinals have dropped consecutive league tilts and most recently fell to red-hot Akron, 71-64, on Wednesday.
Majok Majok recorded a double-double in the loss, scoring a game-high 26 points with 13 boards. Chris Bond was two rebounds shy of a double-double with 10 points. Jauwan Scaife also scored 17 points, as Ball State fell for the fourth time in six tries.
Central Michigan, meanwhile, has also dropped two straight conference games after a 58-52 decision to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. Olivier Mbaigoto paced the Chippewas with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Kyle Randall and Finis Craddock finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
CMU, which has now dropped three of its last four overall, hasn't had a lot of success against the Cardinals and is a mere 30-58 in the all-time series.
Coach Billy Taylor's Ball State squad is in the middle of the road, but it has some of the tools needed for a big run down the stretch. Junior guard Jesse Berry is a certified scorer and is averaging 12.6 points per game, but he has been held to single-digits in four of his past five outings, including a three-point showing versus Akron. Majok, an Australian native, is producing a double-double average with 11.9 points and 10.5 boards per outing, while guard Scaife provides 11.7 ppg playing opposite Berry.
Mbaigoto shot 4-of-5 for nine points in the first half against EMU, but not much else was falling for Central, which shot just 7-of-20 (35 percent) from the field and 3-of-12 (25 percent) from long range. The rim in the second half got even tighter for CMU, which shot 30.8 percent from the floor, 21.4 percent from long range, and 66.7 percent from the foul line. Much of the Chippewas' shooting woes came from 11 Eastern Michigan blocks. The Chippewas couldn't catch a break despite holding EMU without a field goal for the final three minutes. The Eagles hit only 11-of-20 free throws during that span.
The Chippewas have the third worst scoring defense (69.3 ppg) and second highest field goal percentage defense (.466) in the MAC. Offensively, they are much more respectable with 67.3 ppg thanks to their 130 connections from beyond the arc.
Both of these teams have something to prove with two straight league losses. Berry has been awful of late, but could be the difference in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ball State 69, Central Michigan 63
01/19 10:42:04 ET