Kent State (16-6) at Eastern Michigan (10-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 8th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (8,800) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Kent State 9-1, Eastern Michigan 6-2. Away Record: Kent State 6-4, Eastern Michigan 4-10. Neutral Record: Kent State 1-1, Eastern Michigan 0-1. Conference Record: Kent State 6-3, Eastern Michigan 5-4. Series Record: Kent State leads, 37-30.
GAMES NOTES: Eastern Michigan will try to reverse its fortunes and hold on to the top spot in the Mid-American Conference West Division standings when the Eagles host Kent State in a conference duel at the Convocation Center.
Kent State is riding a 15-game win streak in the all-time series between these squads and now holds a 37-30 advantage all-time. Eastern Michigan has not recorded a win against the Golden Flashes since February of 1998.
Although Kent State has accumulated a 6-3 record in conference play, the Golden Flashes still find themselves in the bottom half of the MAC East Division, currently fourth in the standings. Kent State has a four-game win streak in tow and has won seven of 10 games since the new year. The Golden Flashes will enjoy a three-game homestand beginning with Ball State on Saturday.
Eastern Michigan has begun to slip, losing back-to-back games after winning four of its five prior. The Eagles are now 5-4 in conference play which is just a game up on Ball State and Western Michigan for first in the MAC West Division.
On Saturday Kent State escaped at home against Western Michigan, taking a 78-73 win in overtime. Junior guard Randal Holt hit back-to-back three pointers to help the Golden Flashes overcome a five-point deficit with just over two minutes remaining and Chris Evans then took over, scoring nine of his 18 points in overtime in the win.
Kent State needed just a bit more than its normal offensive output in the win over Western Michigan. The Golden Flashes are now putting in 72.1 points per game which is third in the conference, while shooting the fourth best percentage from the field at .452. Senior forward Justin Greene (13.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is the team's leader in both scoring and rebounding and has scored in double figures in 10 straight after putting in 19 against Western Michigan. Holt is the second option scoring 13.0 points per game, while Evans rounds out the double-figure scorers. Senior guards Carlton Guyton and Michael Porrini are each nearing double digit scoring averages at 9.8 and 9.4 points per game, respectively, but have enjoyed the role of primary distributors for most of the season. Porrini hands out a team leading 4.4 assists per game, while Guyton dishes out 3.8 per contest.
Eastern Michigan was dispatched easily by Akron on Saturday, as the Zips showed why they are leading the conference standings with a 77-47 rout. Eastern Michigan managed only 16 points in the first half and shot just 32.1 percent for the game, while turning the ball over 18 times.
Normally a team at the top of the standings has an offense that at least ranks near the middle of the conference but that has not been the case for Eastern Michigan. The Eagles have the lowest scoring team in the conference at 52.7 points per game, but counter that with the MAC's best defense (59.7 ppg). Senior guard D.J. Lampley is the only player on the team in double figures at 13.3 ppg. Lampley was held to just eight points in the loss to Akron however, on 3-of-10 shooting. Junior center Matt Balkema (5.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg) showed some surprising scoring ability by putting in a team-high 15 points for the Eagles in the loss. Junior forward Jamell Harris has not been an effective scoring threat on the inside, but has been solid on the glass, pulling down a team- high 6.0 rebounds per game.
Kent State has the type of high-scoring, balanced offense that will give Eastern Michigan a great deal of trouble. With the scoring of Greene, Holt and Evans, combined with the movement of Guyton and Porrini, the Golden Flashes should continue to build on a solid conference resume.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 72, Eastern Michigan 58
02/08 10:36:50 ET