Men's Basketball Preview: Kent State at Cleveland State

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Men's Basketball Preview

Kent State at Cleveland ST.

Who: Kent State (8-5) vs. Cleveland State (8-5).

When/Where: Tonight, 6 p.m./Wolstein Center in Cleveland.

Radio: WHLO 640 AM.

Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (29-17, 2nd season); Gary Waters, Cleveland State (130-87, 7th year at Cleveland State; 302-222, 17th season overall).

2011-12 Records: Kent State 21-12; Cleveland State 22-11.

Series: Kent State leads, 25-22, but the Vikings have won the last three meetings.

Last Meeting: Cleveland State defeated the Golden Flashes 57-53 last year in Kent.

Kent State Leaders: Senior forward Chris Evans ranks among the top three in the MAC in scoring (2nd, 16.9 ppg), rebounding (3rd, 7.5) and steals (2nd, 2.1 spg). Senior guard Randal Holt is second on the team in scoring (13.2 ppg) and leads the MAC in 3-pointers made (30), while junior forward Mark Henniger is second on the team in rebounding (4.3 rpg).

Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings bounced back from a 30-point loss at Akron by defeating Rio Grande 79-59 on Dec. 28, improving to 5-0 at home. ... Waters recently earned his 300th career victory. He notched 92 of those wins while coaching the Golden Flashes from 1996-2001, when he led Kent State to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances -- the first two in program history. ... Vikings leading scorer Anton Grady (13.7 points, 5.5 rebounds per game), a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, has missed the past seven games after suffering a knee injury and is doubtful for tonight. ... Sophomore guard Charlie Lee (5-9) is averaging 13.5 points and a team-high 4.9 assists per contest, while 6-7 senior forward Tim Kamcyzc chips in 10 points per game.

Flash Facts: The Flashes survived a major scare from Division II Fairmont State on Sunday, escaping with a 77-75 win behind Evans' career-high 27 points. Evans hit 6-of-10 3-pointers, and is now shooting 41 percent from long-range (18-of-44). ... Kent State, seeking its fourth straight victory, will wrap up the non-conference portion of its schedule tonight.

Senderoff on Cleveland State: "It's gonna be a really good game. They run a number of defenses and mix things up. Our guys are gonna have to play well and take care of the basketball. That's a huge key, because they're a pressure-oriented team. Heading into league play it's very similar to a league game for us, a team with good players that's well-coached, and it's on the road. I know our kids will be excited to play. Executing and taking care of the basketball will be the two things we have to do well."

Next: The Golden Flashes will open MAC play against Toledo on Jan. 9 at the M.A.C. Center.

Countdown to Akron: 17 days.

-- Allen Moff

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