Ball State men’s basketball set for rematch against Kent State
Ball State men’s basketball will look to avenge its Jan. 23 overtime loss when it hosts Kent State in the second meeting of the season between the two teams.
Ball State (15-9, 6-5 MAC) has been almost unstoppable at home this season with an 11-1 record in Muncie. The team's only loss in Worthen Arena came against Mid-American Conference leader Buffalo in the team’s second conference game of the season.
The only team to defeat Buffalo in conference play is Kent State.
The Golden Flashes (12-12, 6-5 MAC) are second in the MAC in 3-point defense, with their opponents making 33 percent of their attempts. Ball State is tenth in the conference in 3-point percentage (.335) this season, so getting the ball close to the basket and letting junior center Trey Moses and sophomore forward Tahjai Teague go to work in the paint could be key for the hosts.
Since the start of MAC play, Moses has been a force inside, averaging 13.6 points per game and 9.4 rebounds, which is third in the conference over that span. The Louisville native sits eighth in the conference with a 54.8 percent clip from the floor. Teague has been another solid piece for Ball State. The sophomore forward averages 10.5 points per game and seven rebounds on the year. Teague is second on the team behind Moses in field goal percentage, shooting a solid 51 percent from the field for the season, which is 10th in the MAC.
Junior guard Tayler Persons, Ball State’s leading scorer (14.6 ppg) and passer, enters the game ranked second in the MAC in assists with 4.4 per game for the season. Getting the ball into Persons’ hands has led to some big moments for the Cardinals, including a trifecta of game-winning 3-pointers this season.
The Cardinals will have to make sure they put bodies on the Golden Flashes when shots go up in order to limit second chance points by the visitors.
Kent State comes into the matchup ranked third in the conference in offensive rebounding, averaging 11.6 per game. Despite that, Kent State is last in the conference on the defensive glass, so Ball State could end up finding itself in position to pull down some offensive boards of its own.
Defensively, containing Jaylin Walker will be another important part of a winning formula for Ball State. The junior guard is the conference’s fifth-leading scorer at 17.4 points per game and averages the most made 3-pointers in the MAC with 2.9 per outing.
Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns will attend the game and toss out T-shirts in the student section prior to tipoff. The first 500 students will also receive a Papa John’s food voucher.
Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m.