North Florida has had a much-needed eight days in between games, with the Christmas break providing the Ospreys with four days off. The Ospreys (4-11) host Ball State on Thursday night for the second-to-last game of the program’s most difficult non-conference slate. The Cardinals (8-4), coming into Thursday, have played six consecutive games at home. North Florida is looking for a bounce-back, having dropped eight of their last nine games.
It’s the 6th first-time opponent for the Ospreys. The pair will play at Ball State next season. Thursday’s game will tip at 7 p.m. Coverage will be on ESPN3 and 1010XL.
Ospreys point guard Dallas Moore is climbing up the ASUN scoring list and reminds us of when Maurice Jones-Drew was the main producer for the Jaguars. Moore gets you at least 20 exciting points each contest.
Ball State has sophomore guard Tayler Persons as its leading scorer. North Florida is familiar with him since Persons played for Northern Kentucky back in 2014-15. He was the Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year that season. Persons is very talented and can make Ball State a tournament team.
The Ospreys shouldn’t change with Chris Davenport now available. The lineup is best suited with this the remainder of the season: Dallas Moore (#14), Aaron Bodager (12), Garrett Sams (11), Wajid Aminu (2) and Romelo Banks (33).
Ball State has four starters that have gotten the nod in all 12 games. Ryan Weber and Francis Kiapway have split their position, 4 and 8. Look for the Cardinals to go: Sean Sellers (#34), Tayler Persons (2), Ryan Weber (33), Franko House (15) and Trey Moses (41).
About Ball State:
The Cardinals have seven players averaging 7.0 or more points per game. That is insane! It’s one of a dozen reasons Ball State has won four straight games. Out of 12 games this year, they have only been outrebounded once. BSU is the lone MAC team in the top-four of field goal percentage and FG percentage defense. It’s not quite hosting Florida or Miami at the UNF Arena, but Ball State is one of the tougher non-conference home games the Ospreys have ever had.
It will be Chris Davenport’s second game back. The senior – one of the best Ospreys ever – needs to play turnover-free ball and keep the fouls to a minimum.
Ball State sophomore Trey Moses has averaged a double-double in his last nine games. That size can frustrate the Ospreys depth in the paint. If Moses does not have a big game, he can facilitate.
How UNF Can Win:
The Ospreys need to rebound well, have productive possessions and make it another game with 10-plus threes. Otherwise, this one could have the feel of the loss at Florida International. Ball State was last on the road on Nov. 27.