Non-conference season has Kent State men's basketball team prepared for MAC play

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer

If experiencing a little bit of everything is the best way to prepare for the conference season, the Kent State men's basketball team should be good to go for tonight's Mid-American Conference opener against Ohio.

The Golden Flashes experienced highs (8-1 start, win at Temple), lows (back-to-back home losses vs. Bucknell, Cleveland State) and virtually everything in between while compiling an overall solid 9-4 record during the non-conference portion of the 2013-14 campaign.

"I think there were some good moments and some bad moments," said third-year coach Rob Senderoff. "The last two games at home I'm disappointed in, but we also had some really good moments where we won some games when we were behind. We showed a ton of resiliency, especially on the road. Even the last game we lost (73-68 at 11-2 Princeton), we showed a ton of resiliency. We've done that in every game on the road. We've played three games in three nights at home and guys were tired but found ways to win games.

"We've had a number of different guys play well at different points. I think we're prepared and ready to go."

Kent State's most consistent performer on both ends of the floor this season has been junior guard Derek Jackson, a transfer from Central Michigan, who is second on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg) and has quickly emerged as a staunch perimeter defender.

One key returnee that has struggled through much of the season thus far is senior forward Darren Goodson. His numbers are decent (10.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists), but Goodson is shooting under 36 percent from the field and leads the team with 27 turnovers.

Goodson has been removed from the starting lineup in favor of sophomore forward Chris Ortiz.

"If that's what's better for the team, which I think it might be, then I'm fine with it," said Goodson.

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