Kent State (16-15) at Miami-Ohio (12-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 10, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Millett Hall (6,400) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Kent State 11-7, Miami-Ohio 7-6. Away Record: Kent State 5-8, Miami-Ohio 5-11. Neutral Record: Kent State 0-0, Miami-Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Kent State 7-11, Miami-Ohio 8-10. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 87-47.
GAME NOTES: The first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament kicks off with a matchup featuring the ninth-seeded Kent State Golden Flashes facing the eighth-seeded Miami-Ohio RedHawks at Millett Hall in Oxford.
Kent State lost four of its last five games of the season that capped off an up-and-down ride for the Golden Flashes in 2013-14. Kent State is coming off a 58-54 loss to Akron on Friday that set the team back to 7-11 in the conference standings.
Miami-Ohio has dropped two of its last three games coming into the tournament, including a tough 82-76 loss to Ohio in overtime on Saturday. The RedHawks capped their season with an 8-10 record in conference action.
Miami-Ohio leads the all-time series by a hefty margin over Kent State, 87-47. The two teams split the season series this year, with each program recording a road win.
Kent State held a 32-27 lead over Akron in the season finale for both squads on Friday, but the Zips really turned it up in the second period. Akron outscored Kent State, 31-22, in the half to take the lead and hang on for the four-point win. Kellon Thomas netted 14 points to pace the Golden Flashes, adding five rebounds to his stat line. Khaliq Spicer, who has really been an asset lately for Kent State, chipped in 10 points with seven rebounds. The Golden Flashes hit just 32.3 percent of their field-goal tries from the floor, including just 3-of-19 from 3-point range.
Kris Brewer topped the Golden Flashes with an 11.7 ppg average, also tallying 91 assists on the season. Derek Jackson chipped in 11 ppg, and Devareaux Manley was right off the double-digit scoring pace at 9.7 ppg. Mark Henniger's 5.1 rpg mark was a team high, and Spicer came on strong at the end of the season, racking up a team-high 44 blocked shots. Kent State averaged 69.8 ppg through 31 games played on the year, and gave up 68.3 ppg to opponents.
Ohio went ahead of Miami-Ohio at the end of the first half on Saturday, 37-33, but the RedHawks didn't stay down for long. The home squad came back in the second half to outscore the Bobcats, 35-31, to knot the game at 68-68 at the end of regulation. It was Ohio that had the momentum in the extra period, though, as the Bobcats ran to a 14-8 advantage in the overtime session for the six-point win. Willie Moore scored a game-high 24 points in the loss, while Quinten Rollins contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Will Sullivan added 12 points of his own.
Miami-Ohio owned the second-worst scoring margin in the conference at -4.7, but had the best percentage from the free-throw line in the MAC at 75.3 percent. Will Felder tops the team in scoring with a 14.6 ppg average (eighth in the MAC), adding a team-high 6.9 rpg mark, and Geovonie McKnight comes in with 9.7 ppg. Rollins leads the league in steals with 2.4 per outing. The RedHawks averaged just 65.4 ppg (10th in conference) and gave up 70.1 ppg to opponents.
Kent State is no stranger to winning on the road in Oxford, having defeated Miami-Ohio on Feb. 19 at Millett Hall. The RedHawks weren't a very strong home team on the year, going just 7-6 in Oxford. But when it comes to tournament time, the home advantage will be more valuable than the RedHawks know.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 70, Kent State 65
03/10 10:32:57 ET