Western Carolina (3-2) at Kent State (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 21, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: M.A.C. Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: WCU 2-0, KSU 2-0. Away Record: WCU 1-2, KSU 1-1. Neutral Record: WCU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: WCU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Series Record: Kent State leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes will try to build on their early season success as they host the Western Carolina Catamounts in the subregional round of the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the M.A.C. Center.
The other teams featured in the round robin event are Niagara and USC Upstate.
Western Carolina had a busy start to the 2013-14 season as it played five games in eight days to begin the campaign. Following a pair of lopsided road losses to Oregon and Virginia Tech, the Catamounts improved to 68-63 with a road decision at Liberty on Saturday. Coach Larry Hunter's team will have to overcome a tough early season schedule that features 10 road games through its first 15 outings. Western Carolina managed to take down the Flames despite shooting just 37 percent from the floor. The Catamounts have averaged 72.6 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting from the field. They are allowing 74.2 ppg on 45.6 percent efficiency.
The Golden Flashes coasted to a 75-58 win over Saint Peter's on Sunday to improve to 3-1 on the season. Kent State had been impressive prior to returning to the M.A.C. Center as it picked up a road win over Temple and just came up short and lost by two points at Seton Hall in its following outing. KSU has not committed more than eight turnovers in a game for three consecutive games. Coach Rob Senderoff has a very deep team, which has helped the Golden Flashes' reserves outscore the opposition's bench by an average of 11 points per game.
This will be the fourth meeting in history between these schools. KSU owns a 2-1 all-time series lead after picking up a 58-56 decision during the 2011-12 season.
Trey Sumler has been the go-to-guy for WCU once again this season. Sumler is a streaky offensive player, but he can take over a game when he gets into a rhythm. That did not happen in the team's last outing as he went 2-of-11 from the floor and 0-of-5 from behind the 3-point line to net only eight points. Tom Tankelewicz came off the bench to pour in 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Tawaski King tallied 10 points and five rebounds. James Sinclair, who is the team's second-leading scorer at 13.6ppg, also had a poor showing for the Catamounts, finishing with only five points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field.
KSU has posted 79 ppg so far with a very balanced attack. In its recent win over SPC, six different players contributed eight points or more with Mark Henniger leading the way with 13 on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor. Kris Brewer and Darren Goodson chipped in 12 points apiece. Goodson also finished with five assists and four rebounds. The Golden Flashes did a great job of sharing the ball as they assisted 15 of their 28 made field goals and also converted 12-of-17 at the free-throw line. On the season, KSU is led by Brewer, Derek Jackson and Devareaux Manley. The trio is contributing nearly 36 ppg, while hitting on just over 44 percent of their tries from behind the 3- point arc.
This should be an easy game for the Golden Flashes as WCU only has one rotational player that stands over 6-foot-7. KSU is a very physical and aggressive team on both ends of the floor. Although Sumler may be the best player in the arena all-around, the Golden Flashes collectively will be too much for the Catamounts to absorb.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 84, Western Carolina 72
11/21 10:34:39 ET