Ball State (7-7) at Akron (11-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rhodes Arena (5,500) -- Akron, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Ball State 5-4, Akron 8-0. Away Record: Ball State 2-3, Akron 1-3. Neutral Record: Ball State 0-0, Akron 2-1. Conference Record: Ball State 1-1, Akron 2-0. Series Record: Akron leads, 16-15.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals attempt to become the first visitor to find success at Rhodes Arena as they tangle with the Akron Zips in a Mid- American Conference bout on Wednesday.
Akron holds a slim 16-15 all-time series lead over the Cardinals due to its current eight-game winning streak versus Ball State. The Zips earned a 70-58 decision in last season's meeting and they have not lost to Ball State since March 8, 2004.
As they try to snap their eight-game losing streak versus Akron, the Cardinals will also be looking to bounce back from their 61-47 setback to Kent State they suffered on Saturday. The loss dropped Ball State to a 7-7 overall record including its 1-1 mark in MAC play. The Cardinals are 2-3 away from home this season after clipping Eastern Michigan, 60-58, in their league opener a week ago.
Coach Billy Taylor's squad is in the middle of the road, but it has some of the tools needed for a big run down the stretch. Junior guard Jesse Berry is a certified scorer and is averaging 13.3 points per game, but he has been held to single-digits in three of his past four outings. Junior forward Majok , an Australian native, is producing a double-double average with 10.9 points and 10.3 boards per outing while guard Jauwan Scaife provides 11.3 ppg playing opposite Berry.
Majok registered his fifth double-double of the season in Saturday's 14-point loss to Kent State, but he went just 7-of-17 at the charity stripe in the loss. Ball State went 8-of-24 at the free throw line and shot just 27.9 percent from the floor while the Golden Flashes hit 40.4 percent of their field goal tries to coast to the decision. Chris Bond added 10 points and nine boards. The Cardinals enter Wednesday ranked ninth in the MAC in scoring offense (62.3) and just one position higher in scoring defense (65.8).
Akron is going to be tough to knock off as it is riding a seven-game winning streak back to Rhodes Arena after its 68-53 rout of Northern Illinois. The Zips are tied for first in wins in the MAC with their 11-4 overall record. Coach Keith Dambrot's team has easily been the most impressive in the league thus far, as it leads the MAC in scoring offense (76.5) and is the runner-up in the scoring defense column with 62.7 points allowed per outing.
Reggie McAdams paced Akron versus NIU by going 6-of-6 from the floor to net 20 points. Nick Harney added 12 points, Deji Ibitayo posted 11, and Demetrius Treadwell finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Senior center Zeke Marshall, who nets a team-best 12.3 ppg, was held under 10 points for the second straight contest. However, the 7-foot center's recent drop off is due to the lack of competition in the contests as opposed to a slump. Harney and Treadwell are both chiming in with just over 10 points per outing while point guard Alex Abreu is guiding the ship with nine points and 5.6 assists per appearance.
Akron was bullied by most of its conference foes during football season, now it is returning the favor on the hardwood. The Zips a very physical and aggressive unit on both ends of the floor. Marshall's size makes him a very valuable asset in a mid-major conference and his teammates are thriving with him in the middle. Ball State's bigs will have to step up their performance to help the Cardinals avoid back-to-back setbacks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 77, Ball State 65
01/16 10:46:41 ET