Cardinals Host NIU Saturday for Men’s Hoops Senior Day
Free Press Report
MUNCIE, IN - The Ball State men’s basketball team closes out the regular season Saturday with a 2 p.m. home game against Northern Illinois at Worthen Arena. It will be Senior Day as Ball State recognizes Jauwan Scaife and Zach Fields with a pre-game ceremony.
The Cardinals (14-14, 7-8 MAC) have won four games in a row and six of their past seven, while Northern Illinois (5-23, 3-12 MAC) has suffered losses in nine straight.
Mid-American Conference Tournament seeding is on the line this weekend. If Bowling Green wins Friday night over Buffalo, Ball State could grab the No. 5 seed and a first-round bye with a victory over Northern Illinois. If Buffalo wins Friday, the Cardinals would be guaranteed to host a first-round tournament game Monday night.
Ball State holds a 48-32 lead in the all-time series with Northern Illinois. The Cardinals have won six in a row over the Huskies and nine of the past 12.
Ball State defeated Northern Illinois 56-52 on Feb. 13 in DeKalb, Ill., in their first meeting this season. Jauwan Scaife scored a game-high 23 points in the win.
Ball State is 29-9 all-time against Northern Illinois in Muncie and 11-5 against the Huskies inside Worthen Arena.
A Quick Look at the Cardinals
Ball State enters its final regular-season game with wins in four straight and six of its past seven. The Cardinals were 2-7 through their first nine league games but now find themselves at 7-8 in conference play (14-14 overall). Before Saturday’s game, the Cardinals will honor seniors Jauwan Scaife and Zach Fields.
The Cardinals are coming off an 89-85 win Tuesday at MAC West leader Western Michigan, marking their fourth straight game with at least 85 points (all wins).
Junior guard Jesse Berry matched his career-high with 28 points at WMU, while Scaife scored 21 and Chris Bond 15. Majok Majok had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Scaife is averaging 25.0 points per game over the past seven contests and has moved into a tie for the MAC scoring lead in conference play at 20.1 points per game in league action. He has been named MAC West Player of the Week twice in the past three weeks. Scaife also leads Ball State for the season at 16.2 points per game, followed by Berry at 13.3 per game and Majok at 10.8.
Majok, who leads the MAC and ranks 16th nationally in rebounding at 10.1 boards per game, is one of 15 players in the country averaging a double-double.
Scouting Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois has lost its past nine games to drop to 5-23 overall and 3-12 in the MAC.The Huskies will be seeded between No. 9 and No. 11 for the MAC Tournament.
Abdel Nader leads the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game, but the sophomore forward has missed the Huskies’ past two games. Junior forward Aksel Bolin has the next highest scoring average among the active Huskies at 7.3 points per game.
Northern Illinois averages 54.4 points per game and shoots 35.9 percent as a team, but the Huskies also own the No. 5 scoring defense in the MAC at 63.8 points per game.
MAC Tournament Positioning
Ball State enters the final week of the regular season with a chance to be the No. 5 seed, which will earn a first-round bye in this year’s 11-team tournament (Toledo is ineligible).
A Ball State win Saturday over Northern Illinois coupled with a Buffalo loss Friday at Bowling Green would secure the No. 5 seed and a trip to Cleveland for the Cardinals.
A Buffalo win Friday would mean Ball State would wind up with either the No. 6, 7 or 8 seed depending upon the outcome of Saturday’s game. The Cardinals would then host a first-round tournament game Monday for the right to advance to Cleveland.
Akron, Ohio, Western Michigan and Kent State have locked up the top four seeds.
- Radio (Flagship): Ball State Radio Network (104.1 FM WLBC); Play-by-play: Joel Godett; Analyst: Jerry Peirson
- Radio (Student): Sports Link Radio (91.3 FM WCRD); Play-by-play: Sean Stewart; Analyst: Donnie Kolakowski, Tyler Bradfield
- Internet: Live video, audio and stats at ballstatesports.com