GAME NOTES: Jim Christian makes his return to the M.A.C. Center for the first time as his Ohio Bobcats take on the Kent State Golden Flashes in a Mid- American Conference tilt.
Christian coached KSU from 2002-08 before leaving the Golden Flashes with the best coaching record in MAC history.
Ohio leads the all-time series with Kent State by a sizeable, 89-44, margin. However, the teams have split the season series each of the past two seasons. In the 2011-12 campaign, Ohio won 71-65 on Jan. 18, 2012, in Athens and fell 72-62 at Kent on Feb. 29.
The Bobcats improved to 5-0 in conference action for the first time since 1998-99 with a 74-62 decision over Miami-Ohio in Oxford on Wednesday. The Bobcats went 26-of-50 from the field (.520 percent) as senior point guard led the way with 17 points, nine assists, seven rebounds, and three steals. The 2013 Cousy Award Finalist ranks second nationally with 8.3 assists per outing. On the season, Ohio has won six in a row to rise to a 14-5 mark overall. With a victory against Kent State on Saturday, Ohio will move to 6-0 in MAC games for the first time since 1973-74.
Ohio has dominated its MAC foes this season and owns an average +11.8 point per game scoring margin through five games. The Bobcats have shown they are a very dangerous team from beyond the arc by hitting a conference leading total of 42-3-pointers in their five league games. Cooper is pacing the Bobcats with 13.9 ppg, Walter Offutt is second in scoring with 11.4 ppg, and Reggie Keely is a close third at 11.1 ppg.
Although the Golden Flashes are 5-3 in true road tests this season, making them the only team in the conference with a winning record in away contests, they are just 11-8 overall due to a few tough losses at the M.A.C. Center. Coach Rob Senderoff's team is coming off a tough, 70-55, setback to Bowling Green that took place on Wednesday. The loss dropped Kent State to 2-3 in the MAC. The team has used senior leadership to fuel its engine this season. Chris Evans (16.9 ppg) and Randal Holt (13.9 ppg), combine to average 31.0 points per game which accounts for 44.3 percent of the Golden Flashes' scoring. Evans also paces the team in steals (1.9) and rebounds (7.6).
In the setback to the Falcons, Holt scored 17 points to go with five steals, while Evans contributed 13 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Outside of the scoring tandem, KSU combined to go 10-of-33 from the field and 0-of-8 from long distance.
Ohio had trouble on the road earlier this season, but it seems to have solved that issue since entering conference play. Kent State's two-man show is not going to be enough to keep the Golden Flashes competitive with the well- balanced Bobcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 74, Kent State 66
01/26 10:40:59 ET
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