Men's basketball opens final two-game home stand of season with Ball State
To get home-court advantage in the Mid-American Conference, the Central Michigan men's basketball team must win at least one of the next two games.
The first chance the Chippewas (16-13, 5-11 Mid-American Conference) will have to end their current three-game losing streak will be against Ball State (19-10, 10-6) at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 in McGuirk Arena.
CMU is coming off of a 89-76 loss to the MAC West Division leading Toledo Rockets at Savage Arena. The loss put CMU tied with three other teams — Akron, Ohio and Northern Illinois — with a 5-11 MAC record.
Head coach Keno Davis said he didn't see effort when his team fell to Western Michigan in overtime.
"We didn't play our best game of basketball tonight following a great effort at Western Michigan," Davis said. "They shot the lights out from 3-point distance but they've done that to a lot of teams this season. We couldn't stop them.”
WMU will head to Mount Pleasant for the second game in the season series at 7 p.m. on March 2 in McGuirk Arena.
Sophomore guard Kevin McKay, who’s averaging 19.2 points and 9.6 rebounds with three double-doubles in his last five games, said the team needs to execute down the stretch to end the season.
“We have to stop the momentum teams are putting together against us at the end of games like we do for most of the game,” McKay said. “We have to find the things that work all game long and really show it in the closing minutes.”
Davis said in the final two regular season games, he would like to see his team play with the effort they showed against WMU.
"We have to finish strong then head into the MAC Tournament with the mindset we can win three games in three days," Davis said. "This group can do it, we just have to find a consistency."
Scouting Ball State
The Cardinals hold a 5-8 road record this season but are 3-4 against MAC opponents. Before the teams recent 87-80 home loss to WMU, five-year head coach James Whitford had BSU on a five-game winning streak.
Ball State is led by the MAC’s 16th-highest scorer in junior guard Taylor Persons, who averages 14.8 points per game while adding 4.3 assists.
BSU’s tandem of sophomore forwards Tajai Teague and Kyle Mallers average a combined 23.6 points per game. Junior forward Trey Moses ranks third in the league with 8.4 rebounds per outing.
BSU ranks third in the MAC in assists per game (14.7) while CMU is seventh (13.2), but the Chippewas have the conference's No. 2 turnover margin (plus-1.76) compared to the Cardinals No. 10 ranking (minus-0.97).
Earlier this season when the two programs met, CMU’s senior forward Luke Meyer netted six triples for a career-high 26 points and 14 rebounds, but the Chippewas still fell 82-76.
Former BSU guard Jeremie Tyler scored 21 points off the bench, but has since been released from the team for “a violation of team rules,” according to a report from the Ball State Daily News.