Buffalo (15-8) at Kent State (15-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M.A.C. Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: TWC. Home Record: UB 11-2, Kent St. 11-5. Away Record: UB 4-5, Kent St. 4-6. Neutral Record: UB 0-1, Kent St. 0-0. Conference Record: UB 9-4, Kent St. 6-7. Series Record: Kent State leads, 29-9.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes look to remain perfect at home against the Buffalo Bulls when the two meet up this afternoon for a Mid- American Conference clash at the M.A.C. Center.
Kent State owns a commanding, 29-9 lead in the all-time series and has never lost to Buffalo in 16 meetings inside the M.A.C. Center. However, these teams squared off last month in Buffalo, where the Bulls claimed a 71-60 victory to snap a four-game head-to-head losing streak.
Kent State currently has the distinction of being the East Division's hottest team thanks to a three-game win streak entering the weekend. The Golden Flashes are making a quick pit stop back on campus after notching a 75-63 win at Miami-Ohio on Wednesday night. Following this tilt, they'll hit the road again to take on Bowling Green and Ohio University next week.
Buffalo is tied with Akron for first place in the division, at 9-4. The Bulls, who are led by first-year head coach Bobby Hurley, knocked off the Zips in a 96-90 final on Wednesday. That victory was the Bulls' fourth over the last five games.
Joshua Freelove paced UB with 21 points in the win over Akron, while teammates Javon McCrea and Jarod Oldham also chipped in with 20 points apiece, and Shannon Evans scored 13 off the bench. McCrea, who is among the leading candidates for MAC Player of the Year, also racked up 13 rebounds, eight assists, and three blocks. He ranks second in the league in scoring (18.3 ppg), rebounding (10.2 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.585), and is third in blocked shots (2.4 bpg). Freelove (12.3 ppg) is a 38-percent shooter from beyond the arc (48-of-126), while forward Will Regan (10.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) has made steady contributions both along the perimeter and in the paint. The Bulls allowed Akron to shoot a healthy 52.2 percent from the floor, but they shot an even better 63.3 percent and made 7-of-13 3-pointers (.538).
Kent State's Kris Brewer scored a career-high 28 points against Miami-Ohio and has knocked down 11 of his last 12 attempts from beyond the arc over the last two games. The Golden Flashes simply shot Miami out of the gym by connecting on 15-of-26 threes (.577), including a perfect 7-of-7 effort from Brewer. Devareaux Manley and Derek Jackson chipped in with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Scoring has certainly not been a problem of late for the Golden Flashes, who are shooting at a 51-percent clip from the field and 49.3 percent from beyond the arc (33-for-67) over their last three games. To put that into perspective, they were just 28.6 percent from the perimeter over the first 10 games of conference play and, not surprisingly, went 3-7 in that span. On the season, Brewer leads the team in scoring with 12.0 ppg, followed by Jackson with 11.3 ppg.
Both of these teams have gotten hot of late, and although the Bulls have climbed to the top of the East standings, they have yet to be able to solve Kent State on its home court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 72, Buffalo 69
02/22 10:42:34 ET