MEN'S BASKETBALL: Ball State looking for first win against rival since 2003
Cardinals to host Bulldogs with five-game win streak on the line
Ball State has lost the last seven meetings against Butler. This afternoon the Cardinals look to break that streak in Worthen Arena.
The last time Ball State (5-2) defeated Butler was back on December 3, 2003 with a 63-60 victory at home.
Coach Billy Taylor realizes the importance of this game not only for his team, but for the entire program.
"This is a huge game for us," he said. "It's a great opportunity and one that everyone circles on the calendar at the beginning of the season."
Although there's been a lot of talk about the game, Taylor said his players have stayed focused rather than looking too far ahead.
"Now we have this game against Butler and we're excited we get to come back home," he said. "We expect to have a huge student turnout and having a big impact on the game."
The Cardinals have won five straight while the Bulldogs have dropped three of their last four games.
Taylor said that sometimes facing a team hungry for a win is sometimes the most dangerous, but he said Ball State has been focusing on what it's doing rather than the other team.
Ball State forward Jarrod Jones leads the Cardinals and is second in the Mid-American Conference in scoring averaging 19.9 points per contest.
He has scored at least 20 points in five of the first seven games this year.
Butler (4-5) is led in scoring by sophomore guard Chrishawn Hopkins with 11 points per game, along with 13 three-pointers on the season.
Taylor said not only does Hopkins have range from deep; he's also has the speed to get to the basket and score.
"He can really sky athletically," he said "He's used to scoring the ball at a high level. We'll have to be able to contest with their three point shooters while also containing the basketball."