Men's Basketball Preview: Kent State at Ohio

Published:

Records: Kent State (15-13, 6-9), Ohio (19-9, 9-6).

When/Where: Today, 2 p.m./Convocation Center in Athens.

Radio: WHLO 640 AM.

Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (57-39, 3rd season); Jim Christian, Ohio (43-19, 2nd year at Ohio; 137-59 in 6 years at Kent State; 237-150 overall). Senderoff was an assistant under Christian at KSU from 2002-06, and was the best man at his wedding.

2012-13 Records: Kent State 21-14, 9-7; Ohio 24-10, 14-2.

Series: Ohio leads 92-44 and has won five of the last six meetings, including a 59-53 win at Kent in the 2014 MAC season opener on Jan. 8.

Scouting Ohio

The Bobcats have dropped three of their last five, and slipped two games behind Buffalo in the MAC East Division after losing to the Bulls at home on Wednesday. However, they have not lost two games in a row yet this year. ... Ohio is led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Nick Kellogg and 6-9 junior forward Maurice Ndour. Kellogg is tops in scoring at 15.3 points per game and shoots 40 percent from 3-point range, while Ndour averages 14.6 points and a team-best seven rebounds per outing. Junior guard Stevie Taylor (5-10) checks in at 8.1 points per game, 6-7 senior forward Jon Smith is shooting 66.4 percent from the field and averages 7.4 points and 6.3 boards, and 6-4 senior guard Travis Wilkins tacks on 6.5 points per game.

Flash Facts

The Flashes need to win their last three conference games to avoid their first losing season in the MAC since 1996-97. ... KSU has dropped five of its last six road games and is 4-7 on the road this year. ... Junior guard Kris Brewer leads the Flashes in scoring at 12.2 points per game, followed by fellow junior guard Derek Jackson (11.1 ppg). They are the only two players averaging double-figure points. Senior forward Darren Goodson has slipped to 9.5 per game after failing to crack double-digits in the past five contests. ... Senior forward Mark Henniger continues to lead KSU in rebounding at just five per game. The Flashes are 11th in the conference in rebounding margin during league play (minus-4.7), and they're shooting just 64.6 percent from the free-throw line against MAC foes. ... Kent State leads the MAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (34.8), while Ohio ranks third (34.2). ... The Flashes shot just 28 percent from the field (28-of-60) and 18 percent from 3-point range (4-of-22) in their first matchup with the Bobcats this season.

Senderoff on Ohio

"We're playing at Ohio on Senior Day, and they have some very good seniors that are playing really well. Nick Kellogg and Jon Smith are having career years. Travis Wilkins played really well against us the first time, and he's been making huge shots for them all year. It's gonna be a challenging game. We're gonna have to play well and compete for 40 minutes to have a chance to beat them. We played them the first game of the league season, so both teams are a little bit different now. They're shooting the 3 as well as anyone in the league, and we're shooting the ball better from 3 now than we were earlier in league play. They're very athletic on the frontline. Like us they're not a great rebounding team, so we can't afford to allow ourselves to get out-rebounded. And we have to do a good job of keeping them off the foul line, which has been a big problem for us. We have to guard without fouling."

MAC Tournament Update

Kent State is currently tied for ninth in the overall MAC standings, and seeds five through eight will host a first-round game in the MAC Tournament.

"I have brought that up in terms of we still have something to play for," said Senderoff. "We'd like to try to find a way to get a home game. I think if we win two out of our last three we'll get a home game."

Countdown to Akron: 6 days.

Email: amoff@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9445

Twitter: @AllenMoff_RC

Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier

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