Ball State (12-14) at Toledo (13-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Savage Arena (7,300) -- Toledo, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Ball State 7-8, Toledo 7-3. Away Record: Ball State 5-6, Toledo 5-9. Neutral Record: Ball State 0-0, Toledo 1-0. Conference Record: Ball State 5-8, Toledo 8-5. Series Record: Toledo leads, 43-39.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals aim for their third consecutive win as they visit Savage Arena for a Mid-American Conference matchup with the Toledo Rockets.
Rian Pearson poured in 24 points and Julius Brown registered a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists to lead Toledo to an 85-78 victory over Ball State on Jan. 30 in the first meeting of the season series. Jauwan Scaife paced the Cardinals with 19 points, while Majok Majok recorded a double-double of his own with 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Rockets took full control of the bout and led by as many as 15 in the second half before Ball State ran out of time with a late rally attempt. The victory improved Toledo to 43-39 all-time versus the Cardinals
Ball State out-produced Central Michigan to claim a 95-90 victory over Central Michigan in a shootout on Wednesday to mark its fourth win in five games. The recent hot streak has moved the Cardinals to an 12-14 overall record and made them 5-8 in league action. The team has seen significant offensive production from Scaife and Jesse Berry, who are netting 15.5 and 12.3 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 (64.2) and just one slot better in scoring defense (67.6).
Scaife pumped in 34 points to lead the Ball State Cardinals as they took down the Central Michigan while Chris Bond and Jesse Berry chipped in 15 points each. Majok just missed a double-double for the Cardinals as he tallied 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. The Cardinals held a 33-27 edge in the rebounding battle and outscored the Chippewas, 26-14, at the charity stripe.
Tod Kowalczyk's Rockets had been on fire after a poor 6-10 start put them in a hole by the midway point of the season, winning seven times in eight outings to climb back into the race for the West Division crown. Toledo was unable to keep the ball rolling on Wednesday in its key matchup against Western Michigan and dropped a 65-62 decision which allowed the Broncos to create a one-game distance between them in the race for first place. One more Toledo loss or WMU win will grant the Broncos the divisional title. The loss decreased Toledo to 7-3 at home in 2012-13, for the remainder of its regular season.
Pearson is leading the Rockets and the conference in scoring with 18.2 ppg, while also placing seventh in the league with 7.1 rebounds per outing. Brown adds 13.2 ppg and 5.7 apg to the mix. In the mid-week setback, Brown missed a 3-pointer late in the contest for Toledo that would have tied it up, but two missed free throws by WMU's Shayne Whittington gave the Rockets one more chance. However, Dominique Buckley misfired on a final 3-point try and Toledo lost despite hitting on 40 percent of its field goal tries and limiting the Broncos to 36.4 percent efficiency.
The heartbreaking loss for the Rockets will need to be put in the past or they will begin to develop a losing streak. Scaife has heated up to become one of the conference's most dangerous scorers. His head-to-head matchup with Pearson will be a key factor as to which team comes out on top. Toledo's role players and homecourt advantage will be enough to give it the slight edge needed to bounce back.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 74, Ball State 68
03/02 11:09:19 ET