Junior guard Francis Kiapway passes the ball to a fellow teammate during the game against University of Indianapolis on Nov. 3 in Worthen Arena. Kyle Crawford // DN
Ball State men's basketball set to host IUPUI
Ball State men's basketball hosts in-state rival IUPUI Dec. 3 in a game that could continue a recent string of nail-biters.
The last two games between the schools were decided by one possession. This season, the Cardinals are 4-3 and the Jaguars are 2-5, but head coach James Whitford expects another close one.
“They played Eastern Michigan, who is picked to win our half of the conference, and beat them soundly,” Whitford said. “They are one of the most experienced teams in the country, it’s going to be a great game.”
Ball State points per game: 79.4
IUPUI points per game: 73.1
Ball State points allowed per game: 73.1
IUPUI points allowed per game: 77.4
Ball State rebounds per game: 40.0
IUPUI rebounds per game: 34.1
IUPUI also added two transfers from last season's 13-19 squad. Kellon Thomas, a transfer from Kent State, and Ron Patterson, from Syracuse, score a combined 18 points per game for IUPUI.
Ball State, however leads the Mid-American Conference in field goal percentage at 48.1 percent and the team is shooting 52.6 percent over its last three games.
Junior guard Francis Kiapway has found his rhythm as well, scoring a season high 18 points in the Cardinals' last game, a 92-52 victory over IU Kokomo. Kiapway scored just 29 points in the first five games of the season, but is 9-16 from beyond the arc over the last two.
"He's a great shooter — every shooter goes through [a slump] from time to time,” Whitford said. “Truth be told, I wasn’t worried about that.”
Ball State has utilized the same starting lineup in all seven games: Tayler Persons running the point, Kiapway lining up at shooting guard, Sean Sellers playing small forward, Franko House at power forward and Trey Moses at center.
Those five players average 55 points per game with the bench adding 24.5 more points per game.
“Everyone is our locker room is well aware we will have a real test in here Saturday,” Whitford said.
Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m. at Worthen Arena.