January 30, 2008

KSU begins two-game road swing

With two home wins last week-including a key 75-69 victory over rival Akron
and a come-from-behind 67-58 victory over Western Michigan-Kent State took
control of the Mid-American Conference East Division. Now the Golden Flashes
put their league-best 5-1 conference record to the test with two road games.

Up first is a Wednesday evening tilt at Eastern Michigan, where the Golden
Flashes haven't lost since a 91-77 setback on Jan. 4, 1997. Overall,
Kent State leads the series 33-30 and has won 11 straight. Eastern Michigan
holds the edge in Ypsilanti, 21-8.


About Kent State

Currently sitting at 16-4 overall and 5-1 in the MAC, the Golden Flashes need
just four more wins to post a tenth consecutive 20-win season. Kent State
enters Wednesday's game having won two straight and 131 of its last
15 games.


While the Golden Flashes are off to their best start since winning 20 of their
first 22 games in 2003-04, it hasn't always looked pretty. In each of
the past three games, Kent State trailed at halftime and found itself down
by double-digits at least once in each contest. The Flashes trailed Ohio, 36-25,
at the half and nearly pulled off the comeback victory before three consecutive
technical fouls sent the Bobcats to the line for six free throw attempts to
seal the win. The Golden Flashes came back from a 10-point deficit at the break
to beat Akron and trailing Western Michigan by three at the half, Kent State
rallied for a 67-58 win.


The Golden Flashes have averaged just 29.5 points per game in the first half
against the MAC this season. Whatever head coach Jim Christian tells
his team in the locker room is working as the Golden Flashes have averaged
38.2 points in the second half.


Leading the charge for the Golden Flashes is senior forward Mike Scott.
The 6-foot-7, 180-pounder leads Kent State-and is 11th in the conference-in
scoring with 14.0 points per game. Scott and classmate Haminn Quaintance
are the only two Flashes to start every game this season. Scott is also ninth
in the league in rebounds (6.3/game) and second in free throw percentage (86.4).


Junior guard Al Fisher is second on the team in scoring with 12.3
points per game, good for 18th in the league. His team-high 4.3 assists per
game are tied for fifth in the MAC.


Quaintance finds himself among the league's top five performers in four
categories. He leads the MAC in field goal percentage (61.8-percent) and blocked
shots (2.3/game) and is fourth in rebounds (7.6/game) and fourth in steals
(1.9/game).


Kent State is expected to again be without the services of sophomore guard
Chris Singletary who was suspended indefinitely for violating team
rules.


About Eastern Michigan

The Eagles return home after playing three of their last four games on the
road. They enter the contest with a 7-11 mark overall and 3-3 in the conference.
Eastern Michigan is 2-0 against the MAC at home this season with wins over
Western Michigan and Toledo.


Junior guard Carlos Medlock (6-foot, 170-pounds) leads the Eagles
with 13.6 points and 4.3 assists per game. He also posts a team-high 78-percent
from the free throw line. In the MAC he ranks 13th in scoring, fifth in assists
and third in free-throw percentage.


Sophomore forward Justin Dobbins also finds his name all over the
MAC leaders board. The 6-foot-8, 236-pounder is 20th in scoring (10.9/game),
eighth in field goal percentage (52.2), eight in free throw percentage (65.1)
and tenth in blocked shots per game (.3).


Senior guard Jared Axon (5-foot-11, 180-pounds) ranks sixth in the
MAC in three-point field goal percentage. He has hit on 35 of 93 attempts (37.6-percent).


Like the Golden Flashes, Eastern Michigan will be short a player. According
to EMUEagles.com, head coach Charles Ramsey has dismissed
senior center James Matthews for conduct detrimental to the basketball
program. After not playing in Eastern's first eight games, Matthews scored
in double figures in two of the Eagles' last five games including career-highs
in points (15) and rebounds (10) against Western Michigan on Jan. 12. Eastern
already was without the services of sophomore guard Brandon Bowdry,
who started 28 of 32 games last season. The 6-foot-6, 229-pounder is out with
a broken foot.


By the Numbers













CATEGORY
KENT STATE
MAC RANK
EASTERN MICHIGAN
MAC RANK
ADVANTAGE
Scoring
69.5
4
65.3
8
Field Goal Percentage
46.7
1
42.7
8
Rebounds
36.5
6
37.0
5
Three Point Percentage
35.6
3
34.7
5
Free Throw Percentage
70.3
5
71.6
3
Assists/Game
14.8
1
12.9
6
Steals/Game
8.6
2
5.7
10
Blocked Shots/Game
4.2
2
2.4
9
Assists:Turnover Ratio
3:1
3
2:1
6

Kent State notes



  • Kent State received three votes in the latest ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches
    Poll ranking the team 43rd in the country

  • Kent State has a .800 winning percentage
    (28-7) over the last 35 games dating back to last season

  • Scott (91.2%) and
    Fisher (87.1%) rank No. 1 and No. 2 in free throw shooting percentage during
    MAC play

  • KSU has shot an average of 25.8 free throws per game in the last
    five games and has attempted 8.8 more per game than the opposition during
    the stretch

  • Fisher is averaging 11.7 points per game in the second half
    of the last three games


Next Up For Kent State

Kent State continues the MAC West Division road swing on Saturday at Toledo.
The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Ohio and is set for a 12:00
pm start.


KSR Prediction

Kent State 72, Eastern Michigan 58



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