February 12, 2008

Flashes look for win No. 20

After winning two home games last week, Kent State hits the road needing just one win to reach 20 wins for a 10th consecutive season. The Golden Flashes (19-5 overall, 8-2 in the Mid-American Conference) will attempt to win that 20th game against Central Michigan. The Chippewas are just 10-12 overall and 5-5 in the MAC but have yet to lose at home in conference play.

The Golden Flashes own a 37-29 advantage in the series, but have won six straight and 13 of the last 14 meetings. The Chippewas are 17-14 overall, but Kent State has won the last nine games in Mount Pleasant.

About Kent State

Kent State won back-to-back home games last week-a 64-61 overtime win over Ball State and a 82-67 victory over Northern Illinois-to add to their MAC-best record. In the win over NIU, the Golden Flashes hit 15 three-pointers including a school-record 11 in the first half. Junior guard Al Fisher and sophomore guard Rodriquez Sherman each scored 16 points and hit four threes to lead five players in double-figures.

Five of Kent State's next seven games are on the road, where Kent State is just 4-4 in true road games. The Flashes are 0-1 on neutral courts. According to Central Michigan head coach Ernie Ziegler, playing on the road isn't the problem for Kent State.

"I think they are such a good team and they are so tough and they are so well coached, they are always going to get their opponents best shot," Ziegler said. "I don't think it's so much them being different (on the road), it's just when you've been the best team in the conference over a 10-year period and people know they have to come with their very best effort to go against you you're going to see them have to handle adverse situations.

"For the most part they are a .500 team on the road. Good to great teams play .500 or better on the road and win their home games. You look at Kent State's record, that's what they've done. That's why they've been the best team over a stretch of time."

Leading the way for Kent State is senior forward Mike Scott, who averages 13.3 points per game and posts a team-high .879 from the free throw line. He has converted 20 straight free throws and 37 of his last 38 on the way to becoming the MAC's top free-throw shooter.

In all, the Golden Flashes have four players that average in double figures-Scott, Fisher (12.9), senior forward Haminn Quaintance (10.0) and sophomore guard Chris Singletary (10.0).

Quaintance leads the team in rebounds (7.7/game), blocked shots (51) and steals (44).

About Central Michigan

The Chippewas had a tough stretch last week with road games at Bowling Green and Miami. They topped BGSU, 81-77 in overtime, but fell in the closing minutes at Miami, 68-64. It doesn't get any easier for the Chippewas as they welcome in the MAC's top team.

"I'll tell you when you say those three, those last two games and now this third one, it's definitely disheartening to think about how tough it's been," Ziegler said. "Last week I think we went down to Bowling Green and finally put ourselves in position to battle and win on the road against a very well-coached Bowling Green team. We were able to make plays down the stretch, particularly offensively and defensively and put ourselves in position to win a tough game in overtime."

Central Michigan played well at Miami, but in the end it was the RedHawks that made the crucial plays.

"In Miami, I thought we kind of had the same formula; the only difference was Miami was tougher down the stretch and made plays," Ziegler said. "We couldn't get stops offensively. We had a one point lead with less than two minutes to go and couldn't convert offensively for ourselves either on shots, we had turnovers, we had missed free throws and Miami made the plays offensively and won a really tough game."

Ziegler said his team can't allow the frustration of losing at Miami to carry over-even for just a few minutes-to the Kent State game.

"For us, because we were disappointed after that Miami loss and that long ride back up here to frigid temperatures here in Central Michigan, we can't allow the frustration and disappointment-feeling like 'hey we had one at Miami' to affect us in coming back home and continuing having a really tough mindset that we've been able to establish here at home this season," he said.

Senior guard Giordan Watson leads the Chippewas with 16.7 points per game, 98 assists, 41 steals and 46 three-pointers. Junior guard/forward Nate Minnoy is second on the team in scoring with 10.3 points per contest. Junior forward/center Marcus Van has a team-high 27 blocked shots.

The Match-up
Kent State is 2-2 on the road in conference play while Central Michigan is a perfect 4-0 at home against conference foes.

The Golden Flashes average 69.5 points per game while allowing 62.4 to their opponents. Central Michigan averages 71.0 points per game, but has allowed opponents to score 71.2. Kent State shoots 46.3-percent from the floor and 36.7-percent from behind the three-point arc. Central Michigan shoots 44.2-percent from the floor and 33.6-percent from long-range.

Kent State holds the advantage from the free throw line as well. The Flashes have converted on 72-percent of their free throws while Central has hit on 66.9-percent of their shots from the line.

The Golden Flashes typically have jumped out to early leads. They have outscored their opponents in the first half, 816-661. That's not a good sign for the Chippewas, who have been outscored, 706-693, in the opening half of play.

Kent State Notes:

  • Four times in the previous nine years, Kent State's 20th win has come on the road, including each of the past two seasons
  • Quaintance needs one block to become the only active player in the NCAA with 1200 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists, 250 blocks and 200 steals in a career
  • KSU has shot over 70 percent from the foul line in nine straight games shooting 79.0 percent during the stretch
  • Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Kent State has posted a 229-87 record and is 14th nationally over that span with a .725 winning percentage
  • Kent State's 229 victories during that time are tied for the 16th most in the nation, the highest ranking by a MAC school
  • Additionally, Kent State is one of just nine Division I programs to win at least 20 games in each of the last nine seasons. KSU is also one of just seven teams to post at least 10 conference victories during that same span
  • The teams that make up the list of 20-win teams since 1998-99 have combined for 16 national championships and 51 appearances in the Final Four
  • During KSU's current nine-season streak, the rest of the Mid-American Conference has combined for a total of 24 20-win seasons, with only Western Michigan posting more than two straight 20-win seasons (three, 2003-05)
Central Michigan Notes:
    Each of CMU's last three games has been decided by a four-point margin. The Chippewas are 5-2 in games decided by four points or less
  • CMU is averaging 9.8 three-pointers made over the last four games
  • The Chippewas are one of six MAC teams with an undefeated home record in conference play. Central Michigan has won six straight overall in Rose Arena
Next up for Kent State

The Golden Flashes return Saturday to face Ohio University. The Bobcats are one of just two conference opponents to defeat Kent State this season. The game will be aired live on Fox Sports Ohio.

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