Central Michigan (10-17) at Ball State (4-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: John E. Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Central Michigan 8-6, Ball State 4-9. Away Record: Central Michigan 2-11, Ball State 0-13. Neutral Record: Central Michigan 0-0, Ball State 0-0. Conference Record: Central Michigan 3-12, Ball State 1-14. Series Record: Ball State leads, 59-32.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals will desperately try to put an end to a 10-game losing streak as they host the Central Michigan Chippewas in a Mid- American Conference battle at Worthen Arena.
Central Michigan had won two conference games in a row for the first time all season long before a loss to Eastern Michigan,64-42, on Wednesday ended that run. The Chippewas own a 3-12 record in conference play this season - the second worst conference record ahead of only Ball State.
The Cardinals have dropped 10 straight contests, and 14 of their last 15 games. The last win Ball State recorded was against buffalo back on Jan. 23. The Cardinals were dropped in a tough overtime game on Wednesday night by Western Michigan, 88-81, and now own a 1-14 record in MAC play.
Ball State still leads the all-time series against Central Michigan, 59-32. These two teams played one of the most exciting MAC games this season back on Feb. 19, which saw the Chippewas come away victorious in a triple-overtime thriller, 101-95.
Central Michigan held it together in the first half of Wednesday night's loss to Eastern Michigan, trailing the Eagles by only five points at the break. But the Chippewas fell apart both offensively and defensively in the second half and allowed the Eagles to score 40 points to cruise to victory. Chris Fowler was the only Chippewas player in double figures, netting 10 points with four rebounds in 32 minutes of action. John Simons grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and CMU as a unit shot a dismal 24.5 percent from the floor in the game.
Fowler has been a bright spot for the Chippewas this season in a very down year. He averages 17.6 ppg on 51.3 percent shooting from the floor, and adds a team-high 141 assists on the year. Simons checks in at second in scoring with 10.7 ppg and brings down a team-best 5.7 rpg. Freshman Braylon Rayson rounds out the double-digit scorers for the Chippewas with 10.6 ppg. Central Michigan averages 73.4 ppg as a team, but gives up 73.7 ppg to its opponents.
Ball State held the lead over Western Michigan for a large majority of the Wednesday night bout, but the Broncos were able to rally late in the contest, tie the score and send it to overtime. In the extra period, the Cardinals struggled hitting just 2-of-6 from the floor, and allowed WMU to connect on 5- of-6 from the free-throw line. Zavier Turner paced the Cardinals with 20 points and added five assists, while Jesse Berry chipped in 17 points in the loss. Chris Bond notched a double-double for Ball State with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Mading Thok came off the bench to score 14 points.
Bond recently overtook Turner for the distinction of the team's top spot in scoring, netting 12.8 ppg with an impressive 6 rpg, a team-leading 27 steals and 50 assists. Turner notches 12.5 ppg with a team-high 94 assists, but has turned the ball over 106 times on the year. Berry chips in 11.3 ppg, and Majok Majok, who returned from injury against Western Michigan, averages 10.5 ppg with a team-leading 9.9 rpg.
The beat up Cardinals got Majok back in the lineup on Wednesday, although Thok had helped ease the absence of the big man. Still, Ball State just can't seem to find any sort of rhythm to win a contest. This would be the team's best opportunity, but the Chippewas could still prove too dominant offensively for the Cardinals.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 73, Ball State 65
03/01 10:35:55 ET