Records: Buffalo (15-8, 9-4 MAC), Kent State (15-11, 6-7 MAC).
When/Where: Today, Noon/M.A.C. Center.
Radio/TV: WHLO 640 AM/Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
Head Coaches: Bobby Hurley, Buffalo (15-8, 1st season); Rob Senderoff, Kent State (57-37, 3rd season).
2012-13 Records: Kent State 21-14, 9-7 MAC; Buffalo 14-20, 7-9 MAC.
Series: Kent State leads 29-9. The Flashes won all three meetings with the Bulls last year, but Buffalo defeated KSU 71-60 last month at UB.
The Bulls have won four of their last five, and grabbed a share of first place in the East Division with a 96-90 home win over Akron on Wednesday. Seniors Javon McCrea (20), Jarod Oldham (20) and Joshua Freelove (21) each scored 20 points or more. ... McCrea, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound battering ram, torched the Flashes in all three games last season. He averaged 18 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game a year ago overall, but those numbers soared to 28.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks against KSU. In the first matchup this season McCrea was 'held' to 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but 6-8 junior forward Will Regan went off for 25 points and 10 boards. ... McCrea is a leading candidate for MAC Player of the Year honors. He ranks second in the conference in scoring (18.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage (58.5), first in rebounds (10.2 rpg), and tacks on 2.4 blocks, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals per outing. ... Freelove, a 6-2 senior guard who transferred from Alabama State, is second in scoring (12.8 ppg, 38 percent 3-pointers) followed by Regan (10.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 37 percent 3-pointers). Oldham (6-3) averages 8.5 points and 5.3 assists, which ranks second in the MAC. ... Buffalo averages 73.2 points per game and is among the top rebounding teams in the conference (+3.2 rebounding margin).
The Flashes have won three straight after dropping six of their previous seven. That skid started with the loss at Buffalo on Jan. 18, a game Kent State led 29-27 at halftime before getting blitzed 44-31 in the final 20 minutes. ... Junior point guard Kris Brewer leads KSU in scoring at 12 points per game after tying a career high with 28 points in Wednesday's victory at Miami. After shooting 1-of-19 from 3-point range over a five-game stretch, Brewer has nailed 11-of-12 bombs in the past two contests. ... Junior guard Derek Jackson is second in scoring (11.3 ppg), followed by senior forward Darren Goodson (9.7 points, 4 rebounds, 2.6 assists) and junior guard Devareaux Manley (9.2 ppg, team-high 54 3-pointers). Senior forward Mark Henniger leads the way in rebounding (7.3 points, 5 rebounds). ... During the three-game winning streak the Flashes are shooting 50.9 percent from the field overall and 49.3 percent (33-for-67) from the 3-point arc. They shot just 28.6 percent from long range over their first 10 conference games (3-7). ... Kent State is second in the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage (34.8) and 3-pointers made per game (7.5), while the Bulls are second in 3-point field goal percentage defense (29.8). KSU shot 6-of-22 from long range in the first meeting.
Senderoff on Buffalo
"They're a very good team obviously, with a lot of veterans who are playing well. We'll have to rebound the ball, cause they're a great rebounding team. We'll have to guard without fouling, and we'll have to take care of the basketball. We can't turn it over. We're gonna have to play very well to beat them."
Countdown to Akron: 13 days.
Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier