Courtesy of Ball State Sports.
On Senior Night, Ball State looks to lock up MAC Tournament bye
For senior guards Francis Kiapway and Sean Sellers, Friday will be the last regular season home game of their careers as Ball State men's basketball hosts Western Michigan on senior night and the annual #MuncieOut.
After winning five games in a row and seven of its last eight, Ball State (19-9, 10-5 MAC) can clinch a first-round bye in the Mid-American Conference Tournament with a win. A Cardinals win would push them to 15-1 at home this season, tying the school record for home wins in a season. Ball State won 15 home games three straight times in 1990-93. The Cardinals would also reach 20 wins for the third straight season. The Cardinals haven't won 20 games in three consecutive seasons since they did it five straight times from 1988-93.
Sean Sellers has the potential to add his own piece of history in this game. The senior guard needs just one 3-pointer to break Jesse Berry's record for the most made 3-pointers in school history. Sellers is currently tied with Berry at 224 makes. Sellers was named to the Academic All-District First Team this week, becoming the first Ball State player to accomplish that since 2005.
Throughout its current winning streak, Ball State has relied on a bigger lineup that has allowed junior center Trey Moses and sophomore forward Tahjai Teague to excel down low. Moses is just three blocks away from becoming the sixth player in school history to eclipse 100 career blocks. The Louisville, Kentucky, native has also recorded seven double-doubles in conference play. Teague has notched five double-doubles in the past eight games, and is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds over that stretch. Both players are among the top six in the MAC in rebounding since the start of conference play, with Moses in third at 9.1 and Teague in sixth with 8.1 per outing.
Since the start of MAC action, Ball State has played lockdown defense. The Cardinals are second in the MAC in field goal percentage defense, holding their opponents to just 41 percent shooting from the floor. The Cardinals also sit second behind only league leader Buffalo in rebounding margin with a +1.9 advantage per game on the glass in MAC play. Distributing the basketball has also been a strength for the Cardinals as they've dished out 14.4 assists per game in league play, third behind division leaders Buffalo and Toledo.
For Western Michigan (16-12, 8-7 MAC), the Broncos are led by All-MAC guard Thomas Wilder, who is second in the conference in scoring at 19 points per game. Western Michigan knows how to take care of the ball. The team leads the MAC with a +3.7 turnover margin. The Broncos also lead the all-time series against Ball State by one game at 65-64.
Friday's game is scheduled to start at 9 p.m.