Ball State (8-11) at Bowling Green (7-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stroh Center (4,700) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: Buckeye Cable Sports Network. Home Record: BSU 5-6, BGSU 6-3. Away Record: BSU 3-5, BGSU 0-8. Neutral Record: BSU 0-0, BGSU 1-2. Conference Record: BSU 2-5, BGSU 2-5. Series Record:Bowling Green leads, 41-34.
GAME NOTES: The Ball State Cardinals and Bowling Green Falcons will try to climb out of the Mid-American Conference's cellar when they square off at the Stroh Center on Saturday.
Both sides are 2-5 in MAC play, which puts them in a five-way tie with Miami- Ohio, Kent State, and Central Michigan for last place entering the weekend.
BGSU owns a 41-34 all-time series lead versus BSU and has won 26 of the 36 meetings played in Bowling Green. The Cardinals have not defeated the Falcons in two seasons or in Bowling Green since 2004.
The Cardinals suffered their fifth loss in six games on Wednesday, falling 85-78 to Toledo at home to fall to an 8-11 overall record. Although it lost, Ball State managed to place four players in double-figures led by senior guard Jauwan Scaife's season-high 23 points. Coach Billy Taylor's team got off to a decent start and held a 37-35 lead at halftime, but it found itself trailing the Rockets by 15 points midway through the second stanza after a charge by Toledo not long after halftime. The Cardinals rallied back to cut the deficit to three with one minute left, but they ran out of time before completing the comeback.
Majok Majok tallied 16 points and 15 boards in the loss for BSU to notch his MAC-leading eighth double-double of the season. Jesse Berry added 18 points and Chris Bond posted 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor to go along with three steals. Berry is averaging a 12.9 ppg, which puts him just a tenth of a point ahead of both Majok and Scaife for the team scoring lead. team scoring lead at 12.6 ppg. Majok also leads the conference and ranks 15th nationally with 10.4 rebounds per tilt. Despite the trio's production, Ball State is scoring just 64.0 ppg to the 67.1 ppg it allows.
Bowling Green suffered its fourth loss in five outings earlier this week when it was dealt a 68-55 loss at home by Akron. The loss dropped the Falcons to a 7-13 overall record including its 5-6 mark at the Stroh Center. Chauncey Orr tallied a game-high 16 points for BGSU, which lost for the second time in a row. A'uston Calhoun contributed a double-double of 11 points and 11 boards, but went 2-of-13 from the field. Craig Sealey provided a spark off the bench with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor. The team suffered as star point guard Jordon Crawford submitted a forgettable performance, going 1-of-11 from the field and 0-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The Falcons will struggle if the 5-foot-6 Crawford continues to be contained, as they are led in the scoring column by his 15.9 ppg with Calhoun close behind at 15.5 ppg. Crawford's lightning quick first step has helped him run the show for BGSU as he deals out 4.1 assists and record 1.8 steals per contest, but he is just 20-of-63 (31.7 percent) from the field over his last four outings. Calhoun is consistently a force on the glass to grab 7.7 rpg, while Richaun Holmes rejects 2.7 shots per tilt. Bowling Green is also one of the better defensive teams in the MAC, limiting their opposition to 63.5 ppg. However, it is only 10th in scoring with a measly 61.6 ppg.
The tie between these teams in the conference standings is not hard to believe as they have the same basic mold, philosophy, and reliance on an inside- outside combo. The pressure will be on Crawford, who will need to find his shooting touch to prevent BGSU from sinking any further.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 67, Ball State 63
02/02 10:35:36 ET