Men's Basketball Preview: Kent State at Loyola-Chicago

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

Men's Basketball

Kent State at Loyola-Chicago

What: 2013 ESPN BracketBuster.

Who: Kent State (14-12, 5-7 MAC) vs. Loyola-Chicago (14-13, 4-10 Horizon)

When/Where: Today, 3 p.m./Gentile Arena in Chicago.

Radio: WHLO 640 AM.

Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (35-24, 2nd season); Porter Moser, Loyola-Chicago (21-36, 2nd year at Loyola-Chicago).

Last Year's Records: Kent State 21-12; Loyola-Chicago 7-23.

Series: Loyola-Chicago leads 3-1, including a 74-59 win in the last meeting during the 1996-97 season.

Kent State Leaders: Senior forward Chris Evans ranks fourth in the MAC in scoring (17.0 ppg), rebounding (7.5 rpg) and steals (2.0 spg), and is shooting 50.5 percent from the field. Senior guard Randal Holt is second on the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) and leads the MAC in 3-pointers made (64) while shooting 37 percent from long range. Sophomore guard Kris Brewer is third on the team in scoring (9.5 ppg) and leads the MAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (44.8 percent).

Scouting Loyola-Chicago: Loyola has lost five of its last six games, including an 85-76 home loss to Valparaiso on Tuesday. Senior forward Ben Averkamp (6-foot-8) leads the Ramblers at 15.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, but has missed the past four games due to a concussion. Sophomore guard-forward Christian Thomas (6-5) is averaging 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds, while Devon Turk (8.8 ppg) has made 56 3-pointers and is shooting 43 percent from long range.

Flash Facts: Kent State is 6-4 in BracketBuster games and one of only 10 programs that have participated in the event each year since its inception in 2003. The BracketBuster games will end after this season. ... Loyola assistant coach Armon Gates is a 2006 graduate of Kent State and a former starting guard for the Golden Flashes. Gates also served as an assistant coach at KSU for two seasons (2008-10). Gates either played or coached at Kent State with every member of the Flashes' current coaching staff. ... KSU's all-time leader in 3-pointers with 222, Holt needs six points to crack the school's top 10 all-time scoring list.

Senderoff on Loyola-Chicago: "They've struggled a little bit of late. Their leading scorer and rebounder (Averkamp) had a concussion and hasn't played in the last four games, but I think they expect him back for (today's) game. He makes them a lot different. Without him they've been playing four guards and even five guards at times. When he's there, they're able to play more traditional. He's a center who can score and rebound. He's a first team all-conference guy in (the Horizon League). He's a physical, tough inside player who certainly can cause some problems. They're scrappy, they defend, they run a lot of ball-screen-things on offense. We're gonna have to go up there and play well on their court to have a chance to win. We're gonna have to rebound, because they're a good rebounding team. We're gonna have to do a good job taking care of the basketball, and we'll have to execute our stuff and make sure we do a good job defensively, especially against their four- and five-guard lineups. That's not something we play against a ton."

Next: The Golden Flashes will host Buffalo (11-15, 6-6 MAC) Wednesday at 7 p.m.

-- ALLEN MOFF

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