Basketball

Men’s basketball looks to bounce back after MAC road losses; Ball State up next

The men’s basketball team returns to McGuirk Arena to play Ball State at 7 p.m. Saturday after suffering its second-straight conference loss on the road.

Head coach Keno Davis said it was a part of the learning process and noted the losses Central Michigan was dealt were against the 2012 Mid-American Conference West Division champion, Eastern Michigan and preseason MAC favorite Toledo.

“I think you’re looking at two really good ball clubs,” Davis said. “And you’re playing on the road, so you don’t expect to have an easy task.”

It might be its opponent, the Cardinals, who faces a difficult challenge this time around.

The Chippewas are 4-1 at McGuirk Arena where assistant coach Jeff Smith said the student attendance total for the season was on track to be the best in a decade last week.

“I don’t think there is anything more important in college basketball than home court advantage,” Davis said. “For our young team especially, going on the road will be a task that will get a little easier, but we also, at the same time, need to build our own home court advantage.”

People in attendance may not see anyone play in Mount Pleasant who is as good as Ball State’s Majok Majok, statistically, for the rest of the season.

He is averaging a double-double with 11.9 points and 10.5 rebounds a game.

“Those are big-time numbers,” Davis said. “He is not just a big-time talent, but also someone who brings great effort and energy every game.”

It is his first year with the Cardinals, transferring in from Midland College in Texas.

BSU has had no trouble flying by the Chippewas without him in the last three seasons though, tallying five-straight wins over CMU.

“They’ve been beating us a lot lately, so we got to get this win,” senior guard Finis Craddock said. “They have two pretty good guards in (Jauwan) Scaife and (Jesse) Berry, so we’re looking to contain them.”

Craddock had a season-high 12 points in a loss to the Eagles in his last game.

“We got a lot of penetration, and I was just finding open spots and my teammates were finding me,” he said. “I’ve been in the gym, getting my shots, so hopefully it will continue.”

Davis said he has come a long ways.

“He has really figured out how he can help this team and be successful,” Davis said. “He brings such energy, can be a very good defense player, and yet his best offensive basketball is right in front of him.”

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