Men's College Basketball Preview: Kent State at College of Charleston

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

Records: Kent State (8-2), College of Charleston (5-6).

When/Where: Today, 3 p.m./TD Arena in Charleston, S.C.

Radio: WHLO 640 AM.

Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (50-28, 3rd season); Doug Wojcik, College of Charleston (29-17, 2nd season).

2012-13 Records: Kent State 21-14; College of Charleston 24-11.

Series: College of Charleston leads 2-0, earning wins in Kent in 2003 and 2012.

Scouting College of Charleston

The Cougars have won three of their last four games, including a 51-44 victory at Old Dominion on Wednesday. Their six losses include setbacks to national powers Louisville, San Diego State and Arizona State. ... The College of Charleston returns four starters from last year's squad, which eclipsed 20 wins for the fourth straight season. ... Junior guard Anthony Stitt (6-foot-1) was the Cougars' top returnee, entering the season after averaging 11 points and 3.3 assists per game a year ago. He has struggled thus far, though, averaging 9.8 points per game on 33 percent shooting from the field. Canyon Barry, a 6-6 redshirt freshman forward who is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, leads the team in scoring at 10.6 points per game while 6-6 senior forward Willis Hall (9.4 ppg) is the top rebounder (7.8 rpg). Another player to watch is 6-9 junior forward Adjehi Baru (10.4 points, 7.5 boards, 1.7 blocks). ... The College of Charleston tends to play low-scoring games, averaging just 62.2 points, while surrendering 64.6 per game. The Cougars are not a great shooting team (41.2 percent field goals, 30.5 percent 3-pointers), but they play solid defense and rebound the ball well -- out-boarding foes by an average of 36.7-32.8.

Flash Facts

Kent State returns to action after a 16-day layoff, and will play its first road game since Nov. 13. ... The Flashes completed a seven-game homestand with a 6-1 record, dropping the finale to Bucknell 66-59 on Dec. 4. ... Kent State ranks second in the MAC in scoring at 77.9 points per game even though its top scorers, junior guards Kris Brewer and Derek Jackson, average just 11.4 points. Seven players are averaging between 6.4 and 11.4 points per contest, and all five starters average over nine points per game. ... Senior forward Mark Henniger made 35-of-35 free throws during KSU's seven-game homestand and is shooting 95 percent from the stripe for the year, eighth-best in the country. Henniger shot 64 percent from the line last year. ... The Flashes are seeking their first 9-2 start since 2007-08, the last time they advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Injury Update

Brewer, KSU's second-year starter at point guard, struggled through some leg pains likely caused by a pair of offseason knee surgeries in his last two games, but has taken advantage of the break to recover, according to Senderoff.

"Brewer looks as good as he's looked (all year). He needed the break, probably as much mentally as physically."

Senderoff on College of Charleston

"They're a really physical team, really good defensively. They're not very deep, but the guys that play the majority of minutes for them are really good players. We're gonna need a total team effort to beat them. We're gonna have to do a good job rebounding and we're gonna have to make sure that we don't turn the basketball over. When you have a long layoff that's probably my biggest worry, sometimes you get sloppy just from rust, having not played. We have to make sure that doesn't happen cause it will be one of those games where there's not gonna be a ton of possessions, and you can't just throw them away."

Senderoff on Kent State

"I think we needed the (break). Hopefully we'll play with the energy we've been bringing to practice every day. I think we're healthier physically then we've been in a while. For us to beat the College of Charleston we can't turn the ball over, so we can't be sloppy. But in terms of energy and our legs, we're at the best place we've been since the beginning of the season."

Countdown to Akron: 41 days.

-- ALLEN MOFF

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