Ball State (3-9) at Kent State (9-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: MAC Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: BSU 3-3, KSU 7-3. Away Record: BSU 0-6, KSU 2-2. Neutral Record: BSU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: BSU 0-1, KSU 0-1. Series Record: Ball State leads, 38-37.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals will try to pick up their first road win of the season on Saturday when they visit the MAC Center for a Mid-American Conference bout with the Kent State Golden Flashes.
The Cardinals' only victory over a Division I opponent came over Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 18. Ball State has stumbled since downing the Redhawks to a 3-9 overall record. Coach James Whitford's team hosted Akron on Wednesday for its league opener and fell to the Zips, 72-68, after surrendering a lead midway through the second half. Ball State shot just 37.3 percent from the field including a 4-of-15 clip from beyond the arc in the loss.
Kent State will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak that was extended on Wednesday with its 59-53 home setback to Ohio University. The recent slide has dropped the Golden Flashes to a 9-5 standing, which includes a 7-3 mark at the MAC Center. Coach Rob Senderoff's squad set a new season-low for points against the Bobcats, but it is still ranked fourth in the MAC in scoring offense at 73.4 ppg.
Ball State holds a narrow 38-37 all-time series lead in its rivalry with the Golden Flashes. Kent State coasted to a 61-47 decision over the Cardinals in last year's matchup in Muncie. The Golden Flashes are 26-10 versus Ball State at home.
The Cardinals are one of the weakest teams in the MAC offensively with their scoring average of 67.2 ppg. They are even worse defensively, ranking second to last in the league in points allowed per game at 72.7. Chris Bond led Ball State versus Akron with 18 points, while Majok Majok registered a double- double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jesse Berry came off the bench to go 3- of-10 from the floor for 12 points. Bond, Majok and Berry are all contributing just over 11 ppg on the season. Zavier Turner, who was limited to six points and committed five turnovers against the Zips, paces the squad with 12.8 ppg. Turner has drained 34-of-35 free-throw attempts through 12 games.
The Golden Flashes could not get anything to fall on Wednesday as they finished the contest 17-of-60 from the floor and 4-of-22 from behind the 3- point line. Despite converting only two of his 10 field goal tries, Devareaux Manley led Kent State with 13 points and Mark Henniger chipped in 12 points. Kris Brewer also struggled from the floor (2-of-13), but tallied six points, seven assists and six boards. Brewer has been the Golden Flashes' most consistent scorer en route to his team-high average of 11.5 ppg. Four of his teammates, including Manley (9.6 ppg) and Henniger (9.2 ppg) are contributing over nine ppg.
Kent State's array of weapons on the offensive end are going to overwhelm the Cardinals' shoddy defense. Ball State will need a huge night out of Berry to have a chance of stealing one on the road. The Golden Flashes will not be taking this game lightly since they are eager to end their losing streak and earn their first MAC victory of the campaign.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 78, Ball State 64
01/11 10:37:56 ET