Things have been on the upswing for Ball State Men's Basketball (12-11, 3-7 MAC) as the Cardinals were able to snap a four game losing streak on Tuesday against Northern Illinois. While they come into this weekend hosting last place Western Michigan (6-16, 0-9 MAC) on Saturday, Conference play has proved that any team can win on any given day. Here is your matchup scouting report.
The Cardinals are looking to role off the momentum they built in a 76-75 win over Northern Illinois seeing redshirt junior forward Tahjai Teague and senior center Trey Moses both record double-doubles. Alongside, redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons lead the team with 29 points tying his season high.
Moses returned to the court for the first time after sitting out against Kent State the previous week. He had 10 pulldowns and 22 points, one shy of tying his career high. Teague, who is currently sixth in the MAC in rebounding, had 14 points and 13 pulldowns.
In the MAC standings, Persons is sixth in the league in scoring averaging 17 points per game. He will meet the man a seed right behind him in Western Michigan's Michael Flowers, who averages 16.5 per game. Other leaders include Teague, who is first in field goal accuracy at 59 percent and Moses who is fourth in blocks averaging 1.3 per game.
As a team, while the Cardinals may be struggling in conference play, they are right at the top in team scoring. The team sits behind Buffalo and Central Michigan in third, averaging 79.2 points per game. However, in the opposite realm, the team is sitting at 10th in defense allowing 74 points per game. Lastly, games have been close for the Cardinals as they have averaged to win by five points this season.
The Broncos are coming off their ninth straight loss to top seeded Bowling Green, 85-72, on Tuesday. The team had trouble in discipline as four players fell into foul trouble and one would end up fouling out. The Broncos would also end up turning over the ball 22 times to the Falcons 11. Western Michigan's conference point leader, Flowers, led the team with 24 in the loss.
Flowers and Seth Dugan have proven to be the Broncos driving force on offense. Dugan downed 32 earlier this season against Detroit Mercy and currently leads the team averaging 17 points per game. However, in the Broncos last three matchups, it's been only Flowers and Dugan. Against Eastern Michigan on Jan. 26, Dugan was the only player to break into double figures with 29. The following scorer had 9. Against Central Michigan on Feb. 2, Flowers had 27, Dugan had 18 and the following scorer had six.
On the boards, Dugan sits in fourth in the MAC rankings averaging eight pulldowns per game. The Broncos also have a sharp shooter from three in William Richard Boyer, who is shooting for a conference leading 53 percent from deep. From close, Dugan has proved to be efficient as he sits in third in the MAC shooting for 55 percent inside the paint.
In MAC play, the team sits in last on defense allowing 76.3 points per game. On offense, the team sits a little higher in ninth scoring an average of 71.2 points per game. In the margin to win, the team has averaged to lose games by five points, which is last in the conference. Opponents have thrived at the free throw line against the Broncos knocking down 73 percent of shots.
Both teams are looking to get out of slumps as Ball State looks to keep momentum rolling and Western Michigan to gain its first conference win of the season. The last time these two met was on Feb 23, 2018 when the Broncos snapped the Cardinals five game winning streak at Worthen, 87-80. That loss sparked a four game losing streak to end the Cardinals season.
The game can be watched on ESPN+ or listened to on the radio at 96.7 or 104.9. Tip-off is schedule for Saturday a 2 p.m. at Worthen Arena
Contact Jack Williams with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jackgwilliams