Redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons moves with the ball during the game against the University of Akron Feb. 16, 2019 in John E. Worthen Arena. Ball State defeated Akron 57-56. Scott Fleener, DN
Ball State Men's Basketball, Miami (Ohio) scouting report
After a slim one-point win over Akron on Saturday, Ball State Men's Basketball (14-11, 5-7 MAC) heads down the road to Oxford to take on Miami (Ohio) (13-12, 5-7 MAC) on Tuesday. With Cardinals looking to avenge a loss and keep momentum rolling into the Red Bird Rivalry, a conference win on the road would be big for Ball State. Here's your scouting report.
The Cardinals are coming off their third straight win, edging Akron, 57-56. A tip-in by senior center Trey Moses proved to be the difference in Ball State's fifth conference victory on the season. While Cardinals did get the win, it wasn't a strong offensive performance from either team.
Cardinals only broke two into double figures, seeing redshirt senior guard Tayler Persons with 15 and redshirt junior guard K.J. Walton with 12. The team shot for a low 17 percent from deep, downing only 3-17 shots, and going 34 percent from close at 21-61 from field goal range.
However, the Cardinals were lockdown on defense limiting the Zips to only 56 points on the day. The team had seven steals and 49 rebounds, seeing four players with nine. The Cardinals were able to knock in seven points off of turnovers, but struggled to contain Akron's Daniel Utomi, who had 21 on the night.
In Mid-American Conference rankings, the Cardinals are tied for third in the MAC West standings and are three wins outside of a BYE in the conference tournament. Persons sits in sixth for most points in the conference and fifth for most assists. On defense, redshirt junior forward Tahjai Teague sits in seventh in blocks and sixth in steals while Walton is seventh in steals.
The RedHawks are coming off of a road loss to Western Michigan, 84-79. Miami broke four into double figures seeing Dalonte Brown and Abdoulaye Harouna with 17, Nike Sibande with 15 and Jalen Adaway with 14. Miami struggled on offense too, shooting 37.3 percent from close at 25-67.
On defense, the RedHawks out-rebounded the Broncos 43-37, seeing Adaway with the bulk of the pulldowns at 13. This loss is a larger one for Miami as they have held their teams to an average 69 point per game to be ranked as the third-best defensive team in the MAC.
In individual leadership, Sibande sits just outside of the top 10 in scoring at 11, averaging 15 points per game. The Cardinals will once again face one of the top three-point shooters in the MAC in Harouna, as he holds a 44 percent accuracy from deep for fifth in the conference. On the line, Darren Ringo sits at third with an 83 percent accuracy. Ringo is also second in the MAC in assists, averaging four per game.
As a team, the RedHawks sit in the middle of the pack at eighth in offense, downing 68 points per game. However, they have proven to be one of the top teams from field goal range in fourth with a 33 percent accuracy. On defense, the team is fifth in rebounds with 35 pulldowns per game.
Both teams are looking for a win to stay in the race for the fourth BYE in the MAC tournament. The last time these two faced off was on Jan. 22 at Worthen Arena where Miami would take a six-point victory, sparked by a late game three, 71-65. The loss triggered a four-game losing streak for the Cardinals.
Head coach James Whitford has hinted at the return of sophomore forward Zach Gunn after sitting out the last three games due to a foot injury. Alongside Gunn, sophomore guard Ishmael El-Amin is expected to return soon after sitting out due to a wrist injury.
The game can be watched on ESPN+ or listened to on the radio at 96.7 or 104.9. Tip-off is scheduled for Tuesday Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio.