Eastern Michigan (11-13) at Ball State (10-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: BSSN. Home Record: EMU 11-3, BSU 6-7. Away Record: EMU 0-10, BSU 4-6. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 4-6, BSU 4-7. Series Record: Ball State leads, 56-38.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals look to continue their winning streak as they return home to Worthen Arena to tangle in a Mid-American Conference battle with the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
This will be the second matchup between these squads this season and 95th in history. Ball State collected a hard-fought, 60-58 victory from its trip to Ypsilanti on Jan. 9 to increase its all-time series lead to 56-38. Chris Bond made a pair of free-throws with a second left in the first meeting of 2012-13 to lift the Cardinals to the win.
Rob Murphy's Eagles are coming off a 70-62 loss to the MAC-leading Akron Zips at home which dropped them to an 11-13 overall record and 4-6 mark in MAC play. EMU will be once again looking for its first true road win of the season after failing to pick up a decision in any of its first 10 away games. Senior guard Derek Thompson is leading the way offensively, tallying 10.7 points per game. Pacing the Eagles in rebounding is junior center Da'Shonte Riley, who is posting 6.3 boards and 2.3 blocks per game.
Although EMU is leading the MAC in scoring defense with an allowed average of just 60.0 ppg, it allowed Akron to surpass that mark by 10 in its last appearance. The Eagles made up for a poor 19-of-51 showing from the floor by sinking 18-of-23 at the charity stripe in the contest, but they could not keep up with the Zips as they poured in 53.2 percent of their field goal attempts. Glenn Bryant posted 11 points to lead the way, while J.R. Sims and Anthony Strickland added 10 points apiece for the Eagles.
Ball State edged Northern Illinois, 56-52, on the road on Wednesday to notch its second straight victory. The two wins raised the Cardinals to a 10-13 overall record and a half-game behind EMU in the West Division race. The team has seen significant offensive production from Juwan Scaife and Jesse Berry, who are netting 14.4 and 12.4 points per game, respectively. Ball State has been mediocre on both ends of the floor this season to place ninth in the MAC in scoring offense (62.5) and just one slot higher in scoring defense (66.5).
The Cardinals struggled from the field in their matchup with NIU, as they finished with only 36.4 percent efficiency on field goal tries including a 4- of-22 clip from beyond the arc. Ball State took advantage of the Huskies' 24 fouls by converting 20-of-26 at the charity stripe to collect the win. Scaife recorded a game-high 23 points while Marcus Posley chipped in 10 points. Majok Majok, who owns a double-double average with 11.6 points and 10.0 boards per tilt, contributed seven points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Although EMU has been stellar defensively in 2012-13, Ball State seems to be finding ways to overcome obstacles. Majok will be a key factor as his presence in the paint will help the Cardinals control the rebounding battle and the pace of the game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ball State 59, Eastern Michigan 53
02/16 10:34:45 ET