Niagara (1-3) at Kent State (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M.A.C. Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Niagara 1-0, KSU 4-0. Away Record: Niagara 0-1, KSU 1-1. Neutral Record: Niagara 0-2, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: Niagara 0-0, KSU 0-0. Series Record: Niagara leads, 7-2.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes shoot for their fifth home win in as many chances, as they host the Niagara Purple Eagles in the final game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic tonight at the M.A.C. Center.
Since losing to Seton Hall on the road 10 days ago, the Golden Flashes have ripped off three straight wins, the latest triumph being a narrow 79-78 final on Friday versus USC Upstate.
After this evening's battle, KSU will play three more games at home before venturing out on the road once again nearly a month from now (Dec. 21) versus the College of Charleston.
As for the Purple Eagles, they first lost to USC Upstate on Thursday (83-74) to begin this series of games in Ohio, and then bowed to Western Carolina on Friday, 98-90. The team has won just once in four tries in the early going of 2013-14, a 92-81 victory versus Buffalo at home 10 days ago.
The relationship between these teams dates back to 1956-57 and has favored the Purple Eagles by a 7-2 margin. The last meeting took place two decades ago in Kent, with the hosts capturing a 70-54 victory.
Unfortunately for Niagara, shooting 49.2 percent from the floor just wasn't good enough versus Western Carolina on Friday as the Purple Eagles fell behind immediately and never recovered as they suffered the eight-point defeat. Antoine Mason scored 35 points in 39 minutes of Niagara, followed by Ramone Snowden and Marcus Ware with 16 points apiece, while Rayvon Harris pitched in 11, but the squad simply could not overcome 15 turnovers and 58.9 percent shooting from the floor by the Catamounts.
Mason, who is considered one of the top performers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference this season, is showing his value in the early going with an impressive 31.3 ppg. However, even with the hot hand as he plays close to 39 minutes per game, Mason is not always the best person to be handling the ball since he has 14 turnovers and just four assists. The only other double- digit scorer at this juncture is Snowden (10.5 ppg) who is also the top man on the glass with close to eight boards per contest.
The Golden Flashes attacked USC Upstate from the perimeter on Friday, shooting and incredible 18-of-34 (.529) behind the 3-point line as the squad set a school record for triples in a game. Devareaux Manley shot 7-of-10 on the outside, accounting for all of his 21 points on the night, while Derek Jackson and Darren Goodson chipped in with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Kent State finished the outing shooting just 43.6 percent from the floor, but turned the ball over a mere six times.
Shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 52.6 percent behind the 3-point line through the first six games of the campaign, Jackson is the top scorer for KSU with 12.3 ppg, but not far behind are Kris Brewer (11.8 ppg), Manley (10.8 ppg) and Goodson (10.2 ppg) as the squad generates 77.8 ppg and gives up only 66.3 ppg.
Expecting the Golden Flashes to have another record-setting game tonight would be asking a lot of the home team, but what fans can count on is another high- scoring affair, with Kent State coming out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 83, Niagara 75
11/23 10:33:10 ET