USC Upstate (2-2) at Kent State (4-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M.A.C. Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: USC Upstate 0-0, Kent State 3-0. Away Record: USC Upstate 1-2, Kent State 1-1. Neutral Record: USC Upstate 1-0, Kent State 0-0. Conference Record: USC Upstate 0-0, Kent State 0-0. Series Record: USC Upstate leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes try to extend their home win streak to 10 games tonight as they entertain the USC Upstate Spartans as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Kent State has been nearly perfect in the early going this season, sporting a record of 4-1, with the lone setback being a 78-76 loss to Seton Hall on the road nine days ago. Yesterday the squad posted a 72-59 victory over Western Carolina, the second straight win for the program.
As for the Spartans, they made it to Ohio following back-to-back defeats against the likes of Winthrop and Tennessee, but managed to put an end to the minor slide with an 83-74 victory versus the Niagara Purple Eagles.
These teams have battled once before, with the Spartans capturing a 73-58 win on March 15, 2012 as par of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The Spartans scored the first points of the game against Niagara on Thursday and never looked back, shooting an impressive 55.2 percent from the field in the first half and an even better 57.1 percent (8-of-14) beyond the arc in the frame. USC Upstate built a 47-28 advantage at the break and led by as many as 26 points in the second half, en route to the nine-point triumph. Torrey Craig tallied 25 points and nine rebounds for the Spartans, followed by Ty Greene with 16 points, although the latter shot just 3-of-13 from the field. Jodd Maxey came up a point shy of a double-double as he posted 13 rebounds and four assists.
Craig has led the team in scoring in the last three games and as a result is at the top of the list overall with 22.3 ppg, stemming from 10-of-22 shooting beyond the arc. Greene checks in with another 17.3 ppg as he too shows great skill from long distance (10-of-24). Between the pair they account for more than half of the unit's 71.5 ppg at this point in the campaign.
The Golden Flashes showed very little spark in the first half of their meeting with Western Carolina on Thursday, missing all eight chances behind the 3- point line and shooting just 8-of-29 from the floor overall, but still the team led by five at the half and came away with the 13-point victory. What saved Kent State was a rebounding edge of 49-39 and a scoring advantage of 24-11 at the free-throw line.
Mark Henniger scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the home team, followed by Kris Brewer and K.K. Simmons with 12 and 10 points, respectively, for a squad that made a mere 2-of-18 shots out on the perimeter.
A 51.2 percent shooter from the floor, Brewer is the leading scorer for Kent State through five games, putting up 13.4 ppg. Derek Jackson checks in with another 11.8 ppg as he too makes better than half of his field goal chances, yet the team as a whole comes in with 45.3 percent shooting overall. Nevertheless, KSU is outscoring the competition by more than 13.0 ppg due to the fact that the defense has limited those squads to 39.7 percent from the field and 28.4 percent on the perimeter.
USC Upstate's defense has limited the competition to just 38.8 percent shooting from the floor through four games, but at the same time those opponents have scored 73.2 ppg, which is reason enough to think the Spartans will end up on the wrong side of this meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 76, USC Upstate 70
11/22 10:40:42 ET