Kent State men's basketball vs. Fairmont State Preview
Kent State Leaders
Senior forward Chris Evans ranks among the top three in the MAC in scoring (3rd, 16.1 ppg), rebounding (3rd, 7.3) and steals (2nd, 2.3 spg). Senior guard Randal Holt is second on the team in scoring (13.4 ppg), while junior forward Mark Henniger is second in rebounding (4.3 rpg).
Scouting Fairmont State
The Fighting Falcons are a Division II team located in Fairmont, W.V. They are paced by 5-foot-11 senior point guard Malik Smith, who transferred from St. John's. Smith is averaging 14.3 points and four assists per game this season for an up-tempo offense that averages 87.1 points per game. Junior Brendan Cooper, a transfer from Lakeland Community College and native of Parma, leads Fairmont State in scoring at 18.4 points per game, and is one of five players averaging double-digit points. He is also one of seven Fairmont State players from Ohio on the roster.
The Flashes return to action after an eight-day holiday break. They won two home games in three days before the layoff, including a 73-69 victory over Arkansas State on Dec. 22. Several players ran into travel issues during the break while attempting to return to Kent from their respective homes due to the heavy snow that fell the day after Christmas, but everyone wound up making it back safely. Holt scored a team-high 19 points in KSU's victory over Arkansas State, but still continues to struggle with his shooting. He has made just 15-of-63 field goals (24 percent) in his last five games. The men's game is part of a KSU basketball doubleheader, as the Golden Flashes women's squad will host Robert Morris at 3:30 p.m.
Senderoff on Fairmont State
"We scheduled the wrong Division II team. These guys are good. Smith is probably the fastest guard we have played this season. They have a guy returning at the wing named Isaac Thornton, who averaged 21 per game for them last year. They are very fast, very athletic and have the ability to score a lot of points. Jerrod Calhoun is a Cleveland native in his first year as their head coach, and he coached under Bob Huggins at West Virginia. He has brought in a lot of transfers and new players who are very, very good. This is going to be a really big challenge for us."
The Golden Flashes will visit Cleveland State on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tip.
Countdown to Akron: 20 days.