Men's Basketball Preview: Kent State at Central Michigan

By Allen Moff | Staff Writer Published:

Records: Kent State (12-9, 3-5 MAC), Central Michigan (7-13, 0-8 MAC).

When/Where: Tonight, 7 p.m./McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Radio: WHLO 640 AM.

Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (54-35, 3rd season); Keno Davis, Central Michigan (18-33, 2nd year at CMU; 92-89 overall).

2012-13 Records: Kent State 21-14, 9-7 MAC; Central Michigan 11-20, 4-12 MAC.

Series: Kent State leads 43-29. The Flashes have won 12 in a row and 19 of their last 20 meetings with the Chippewas, and have won 12 straight in Mount Pleasant.

Scouting Central Michigan

The Chippewas have dropped eight straight since starting the MAC season, but were in position to beat quality opponents in their past two games. They let an 18-point second-half lead slip away in a 71-67 loss at Ohio, then nearly rallied from a 23-point second-half deficit before falling 75-72 at Western Michigan. ... Central Michigan is led by 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Chris Fowler, who ranks second in the MAC in scoring at 17.9 points per game and third in assists (4.9 apg). He's shooting 56 percent from the field, and averages a MAC-best 20 points per game in conference play. Other top performers include 6-8 sophomore forward John Simons (10.8 points, 6.1 rebounds), who is shooting 39.3 percent from 3-point range and 6-7 sophomore forward Blake Hibbits (9.3 points, 3.6 rebounds). ... The Chippewas, who have only one senior on their roster, rank second in the MAC in scoring (74.2 ppg) and first in 3-pointers made per game (7.6). However, they rank 11th in defense (72.1 points allowed per game), as foes are shooting 48 percent from the field against the Chippewas. ... Central Michigan is 5-5 at home this year.

Flash Facts

Kent State snapped a four-game losing streak with a dramatic 60-57 win over rival Akron on Saturday at the M.A.C. Center. Senior forward Darren Goodson banked in the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds to play. ... The Flashes are 3-4 on the road and have lost two straight, but have played well in enemy arenas overall. They fell 81-78 at MAC West Division leader Toledo in their last road contest on Jan. 26. ... Kent State has three players averaging in double figures, but the leader -- junior point guard Kris Brewer -- checks in at just 11.9 points per game. Junior guard Derek Jackson is next in line (10.7 ppg), followed by Goodson (10.3 points, 4 rebounds). Senior forward Mark Henniger is KSU's top rebounder (5.4 rpg). ... Rebounding (minus-5 margin) and free-throw shooting (65.4 percent) have plagued the Flashes in conference play. They're averaging 71.1 points per game on the season but just 64.8 against MAC opponents. ... Goodson (10 pionts vs. Northern Illinois, 12 vs. Akron) has been the only KSU player to reach double figures in the past two games. ... Kent State started last year 2-5 in MAC play, then won three of its next four games.

Senderoff on Central Michigan

"You wouldn't see it in their record right now, but they're really improving. They're a very good offensive team, very hard to guard because all of their post players shoot and all of their guards can really drive the ball. They play fast, they're very good in transition. They press and trap and play zone almost the entire game. Defensively, they don't have any shot-blockers, so we have to drive the ball and get the ball inside. We have to do a great job on the glass. Fowler is one of the best guards in the league; really physical, gets fouled a lot, drives the ball really strong. We're gonna have to keep him off the foul line. We haven't been the best at scoring from five feet and in on the year. We drove the ball very well against Akron and didn't really settle, and we have to continue to do that in this game."

Senderoff on Kent State

"It's important for us to regroup and refocus (after the dramatic Akron win). Have we turned the corner? We'll see. I hope we understand the urgency in which we have to play. It's been pounded in them. We'll see the leadership of the team here on this trip."

Email: amoff@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9445

Twitter: @AllenMoff_RC

Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier

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