Who: Kent State (11-7, 2-3 MAC) vs. Toledo (16-2, 4-1 MAC)
When/Where: Tonight, 6 p.m./Savage Hall
Radio/TV: WHLO 640 AM/Time Warner SportsChannel
Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (53-33, 3rd season); Tod Kowalczyk, Toledo (54-60, 4th season).
2012-13 Records: Kent State 21-14, 9-7 MAC; Toledo 15-13, 10-6 MAC.
Series: Toledo leads 79-45. The Rockets snapped a five-game losing streak to the Flashes by winning 70-58 last year in Kent.
The Rockets have been on a roll for virtually the entire season. They opened 12-0, suffered their first loss in impressive fashion at Kansas (93-83), had one slip-up in their next game (87-76 loss at Western Michigan), then rebounded by reeling off four more wins. ... Toledo’s strength is its offense, which averages 83.3 points per game — nearly nine points better than the second-ranked team in the MAC. All five starters — 6-foot-4 senior guard Rian Pearson (14.7 points, 4.9 rebounds), 6-4 junior swingman Justin Drummond (14.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg), 5-10 junior guard Julius Brown (14.2 ppg, MAC-best 6.5 assists), 6-6 junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon (11.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and 6-9 sophomore center Nathan Boothe (10.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) — average in double-figures. The Rockets lead the MAC in field-goal percentage (44.9) and 3-point field-goal percentage (36), and are also tops in rebounding margin (+5.1) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6). . Toledo is 9-0 this year at Savage Hall.
The Flashes are reeling, having lost two in a row and five of their last seven. They’ve been outscored 119-90 in the last three halves, and are coming off their most lopsided home loss in 16 years — 75-59 to Western Michigan on Thursday. ... Junior point guard Kris Brewer averages a team-high 12.5 points, but is shooting just 40.9 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from 3. Junior guard Derek Jackson (10.7 ppg) is the only other KSU player averaging in double figures. Still, Kent State ranks third in the MAC in scoring at 72.6 points per game. ... Senior forward Mark Henniger (7.9 points, team-high 5.4 rebounds) went scoreless on Thursday, and is averaging 3.3 points in his last four games. ... Kent State has shot under 41 percent from the field in eight of the last 10 games, and is shooting 64 percent from the line in its past eight contests. The Flashes are shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 70.1 percent from the line on the year. ... KSU is 3-3 on the road, but has played well overall away from the M.A.C. Center aside from the second half of their 71-60 loss at Buffalo on Jan. 18, when they were outscored 44-31. ... KSU enters the game alone in last place in the East Division, and is the only East team below .500 in league play.
SENDEROFF ON TOLEDO
“They’re an excellent, excellent offensive team. All five starters are very, very good, and all five have the ability to score 20-plus points in a game. The guys coming off the bench don’t play major minutes, but they’re playing well and contributing. They have a really nice team. They’re as good offensively as any team in the country. We’ve gotta play transition defense, we’ve gotta get back in transition. They’re a really good rebounding team, and because of that they’re a really good transition team. And we have to keep them off the offensive glass, cause they’re a great offensive rebounding team, too. Most of the time a team’s first shots don’t beat you, it’s the second and third shots that beat you. We’ve gotta do a good job of keeping them to one shot and done.”
Countdown to Akron: 6 days.
— Allen Moff/R-C