IUPUI (4-10) at Ball State (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 23, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: IUPUI 3-2, Ball State 4-2. Away Record: IUPUI 0-6, Ball State 1-3. Neutral Record: IUPUI 1-2, Ball State 0-0. Conference Record: IUPUI 0-2, Ball State 0-0. Series Record: Ball State leads, 6-2.
GAME NOTES: The IUPUI Jaguars aim for their first true road win of the season on Sunday when they travel to Worthen Arena for an intrastate duel with the Ball State Cardinals.
IUPUI is coming off of an 89-69 loss to Valparaiso which dropped its record to 4-10 and extended its losing streak versus Division I opponents to six games. Coach Todd Howard's squad is 0-2 in Summit League action as well and has suffered double-digit setbacks in all but two of its losses. IUPUI's lack of victories is not due to its scoring offense average of 67.7 points per game, but rather its poor defensive effort that is yielding 76 ppg.
Billy Taylor's Cardinals were unable to pick up their fourth win in a row on Tuesday and were dealt a 66-56 loss by Purdue. The defeat dropped Ball State to an even 5-5 overall record, which is decent considering its 2-4 start. The Cardinals play at a slower pace and average only 63.5 ppg on 40.3 percent shooting from the field. Their opponents are generating 66.4 ppg.
Ball State owns a 6-2 lead over IUPUI in the all-time series that began in 2000. The Cardinals are 4-0 in their history at home versus the Jaguars after each team won on its own court in last year's home-and-home series.
IUPUI played tough against the Crusaders in the opening half of their bout on Thursday as it went into the intermission trailing 40-38. However, Valpo converted 14-of-15 free throw attempts and held the Jaguars to 40.7 percent shooting from the field in the final 20 minutes to create distance on the scoreboard. John Hart tallied a team-best 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting for IUPUI, which also got 11 points from both Greg Rice and Donovan Gibbs. Hart is the team's leading scorer with 14.8 ppg and Mitchell Patton, who did not play against Valpo due to injury, is second with 14.4 ppg. Gibbs is the team's best rebounder with 7.3 per contest.
Ball State held a lead with less than 10 minutes left to play versus Purdue, but could not fend off the Boilermakers down the stretch. The Cardinals' chances were hurt by 17 turnovers, which Purdue cashed in for 17 points. The Boilermakers' 17-7 advantage in points off turnovers was equal to the game's final margin. Jesse Berry netted a team-best 22 points in the loss and Marcus Polsey contributed 12 points off the bench. Berry is averaging a team-best 14.1 points per game for BSU, which is consistently getting a double-double from Majok Majok (12.2 ppg, 11.1 rpg).
The Cardinals have been playing much better lately and a strong effort against an opponent from the Big Ten is not a terrible outcome for a school from the MAC. IUPUI's recent history of trouble away from home is not a good sign for the visiting Jaguars.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ball State 71, IUPUI 64
12/23 10:32:32 ET