Ball State Men’s Basketball Visits Cleveland State Saturday Night

By K. Paul Mallasch

MUNCIE, INDIANA (SPORTS) - The Ball State men’s basketball team will continue a challenging non-conference stretch Saturday with a 7 p.m. game at Cleveland State.

The Cardinals (2-3) traveled across the country after a loss at undefeated Utah late Wednesday. They will square off with a Cleveland State team (3-3) that came within minutes of knocking off No. 3 Kentucky earlier this week.

What You Need to Know            

 Ball State fell to 2-3 on the season with an 88-69 loss Wednesday at Utah. The Cardinals fought back from a 15-point deficit to climb within six in the second half before the Utes pulled away down the stretch.

 Ball State’s three losses have come against teams with a combined record of 15-3 through games of Nov. 29: Indiana State (4-2), Butler (5-1) and Utah (6-0). The Cardinals put five scorers in double figures at Utah for the first time since last year’s season opener against Grambling State. Zavier Turner scored 15, followed by Jesse Berry with 13, Majok Majok with 12 and Franko House and Mark Alstork with 10 each.

 Majok recorded his third straight double-double and his 12th in 35 career games at Ball State with 12 points and 13 rebounds against the Utes. A preseason All-Mid-American Conference pick, Majok is averaging 10.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

 Turner, a freshman point guard, leads the Cardinals with averages of 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game. 

 Seniors Jesse Berry (14.2 ppg) and Chris Bond (10.2 ppg) are also averaging double figures. Berry is nine points away from joining Ball State’s 1,000-point club. Ball State is playing its 93rd season of basketball and its first under head coach James Whitford.

Scouting Cleveland State                            

Cleveland State is 3-3 on the season, having alternated wins and losses through its first six games of the year. The Vikings are coming off a 68-61 loss at No. 3 Kentucky in a game they led for more than 36 minutes.

 CSU’s other losses have come at San Francisco and Eastern Michigan, while its wins have come over Iona, UT Arlington and Robert Morris. Bryn Forbes leads three Vikings averaging double figures at 20.0 points per game, followed by Trey Lewis (13.0) and Charlie Lee (12.8).

 Cleveland State is scoring 75.8 points per game while allowing opponents to score 76.0 on average.

The Series with Cleveland State                              

Ball State and Cleveland State will be playing for the sixth time, with the Vikings owning a 3-2 lead in the series.The teams met last season for the first time since 1975, and Cleveland State posted a 69-63 win in Muncie.

The other four meetings between the teams came in a four-year span from 1972-75 with each team winning twice on its home court during that stretch.

Internet: Live audio available through the Ball State All Access package at ballstatesports.com; Live stats available atcsuvikings.com.

Photo credit: BSU President Gora at the BSU vs Butler game. Photo by Stephanie Tarrant for Muncie Free Press.