MEN'S BASKETBALL: Cardinals look to beat Panthers for second time
Ball State will focus on stopping EIU's top scoring threat
Ball State will have to deal with Eastern Illinois senior guard Tyler Laser yet again when the two teams play for the second time this season Wednesday night.
The last matchup between Ball State and Eastern Illinois ended with a 77-46 Cardinal victory just three weeks ago. Laser scored 10 points and made 4-of-13 in that game.
While he was held below average against the Cardinals, Laser is still the Panthers' best offensive threat. He leads Eastern Illinois in scoring this season with 13.1 points per game while making 33 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Junior Pierre Sneed, Ball State's defensive specialist, will have the honors of dealing with Laser once again.
"I'm sure he knows who I am," Sneed said. "I have a strong sense he'll come out and try to throw up shots. It might go in early, and it might not. The most important thing for me to do is to stay focused and keep my eye on the prize, which is winning the game."
In the last matchup, Ball State (3-3) held Eastern Illinois (3-5) to just 46 total points. It was the lowest scoring output for the Panthers since a 42-point performance last December against St. Louis.
Sneed said he has to stay within the game plan to keep Laser from getting the better of him.
"If I go out there and try to take the ball from him each time he gets it and he goes by me, that's not the game plan," Sneed said. "I'm going to do what coach wants me to do as far as defending Laser. That's what I did last game, and it worked."
Coach Billy Taylor said Sneed will be guarding the Panthers' best scoring threat. Sneed won't be the only one, though, with Randy Davis guarding Laser when Sneed needs a breather.
"[Davis] is a good defender and we trust him that he'll be in the right spots defensively," Taylor said. "We'll use both of those guys."
Taylor acknowledged Laser's ability to be explosive. He said Laser has gotten into a shooting rhythm during their first two conference games.
"Laser is a tough cover," he said. "So we're going to have to do a great job on him and limit his open looks."
Sneed said that while Laser is a great player, he's still confident he can get the job done.
"His shot is on the money every time," he said. "So if I keep my head on a swivel and chase him on the screen, I should be fine."