Southeast Missouri State (2-1) at Ball State (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 18, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: SEMO 1-0, BSU 1-0. Away Record: SEMO 1-1, BSU 0-1. Neutral Record: SEMO 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: SEMO 0-0, BSU 0-0. Series Record: Ball State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State try to run their win streak to three in a row tonight, as they tangle with the Ball State Cardinals in non-conference play at Worthen Arena.
After bowing to Saint Louis in the season opener on Nov. 8 by a score of 87-64, the Redhawks have rebounded with consecutive victories, albeit versus lesser opponents. The first win of 2013-14 came against Central Baptist (118-56), a decision that will go a long way in boosting the team's stats. On Saturday, SEMO took down IUPUI in a much closer decision, 76-68.
As for the Cardinals, they too came out of the gate on a down note with an 82-73 setback versus Indiana State, but managed to respond with a 73-53 home win versus Taylor last week, giving new head coach James Whitford his first victory with Ball State.
The Cardinals won the only previous meeting between these two schools, taking an 85-82 verdict on SEMO's home floor last February.
The defense for the Redhawks stepped up at just the right times on Saturday to get the team back into the win column, forcing 18 turnovers and limiting IUPUI to a mere four offensive rebounds in the eight-point decision. Tyler Stone put together a very strong outing with 22 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, followed by Antonius Cleveland and Darrian Gray with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Stone's first game of the season was the IUPUI outing, so at this point the more sustained effort in the early going for SEMO has come from Jarekious Bradley who is averaging 16.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest. Cleveland checks in with 14.0 ppg and Gray another 13.3 ppg for a group that is averaging 86.0 ppg at the moment, a number that is certain to come down considerably as the season wears on.
The Cardinals were all over little known Taylor in the first half as they limited the visitors to just nine made field goals and 0-of-6 shooting behind the 3-point line. Eventually, Ball State's defense responded by holding the opposition to just 37.9 percent accuracy from the floor and 2-of-13 on the outside, not to mention winning the battle of the boards convincingly, 53-25. Ironically enough, BSU had just one player score in double figures in the outing as Zavier Turner dropped in 17 points, while Majok Majok accounted for 16 rebounds and had more at the offensive end (seven) than the entire Taylor (five) squad.
After two games, Turner leads the Cardinals in scoring with 17.0 ppg and is also first in assists with nine. Jesse Berry's 16.0 ppg comes courtesy of a 12-of-14 showing at the free-throw line where the team has made good on 71.7 percent, which falls below the 80.0 percent produced by the competition. Surprisingly, even with the massive rebounding advantage the last time out, BSU is only coming up with an edge of 11.5 rpg overall.
SEMO has to be careful not to get too excited about putting up all those points against Central Baptist, and just know that the Cardinals will not be as easy of a target.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southeast Missouri State 71, Ball State 67
11/18 10:31:50 ET