Northern Illinois (7-11) at Kent State (11-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: TWC. Home Record: NIU 4-6, KSU 8-4. Away Record: NIU 3-5, KSU 3-4. Neutral Record: NIU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: NIU 1-5, KSU 2-4. Series Record: Kent State leads, 33-18.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes will try to put the brakes on a three-game skid on Wednesday night, as they entertain the Northern Illinois Huskies in Mid-American Conference action at the MAC Center.
Northern Illinois has also been scuffling of late, with losses in four straight entering Wednesday's matchup. The Huskies' losing streak has dropped them to 7-11 overall and 1-5 in conference play. They will visit Ball State next before opening up a three-game homestand.
An 81-78 loss on the road to Toledo this past Sunday was Kent State's third straight setback. The Golden Flashes are still above .500 overall this season (11-8), but they have just a 2-4 league ledger. Next up is a road test against Central Michigan.
These teams are only two weeks removed from their first meeting of the season, with Kent State earning a 73-64 road victory. The win pushed the Flashes' advantage in the all-time series to 33-18.
The Huskies were beaten by Buffalo, 75-67, in their most recent disappointment. They only managed to sink 34.5 percent of their attempts from the floor, compared to a 55.6 percent effort from the Bulls. Aksel Bolin scored 17 points to pace NIU in the losing effort.
Offense is clearly not the Huskies' strong suit, as they rank last in the MAC in scoring (62.6 ppg), assists (8.3 apg) and field goal percentage (.382). However, they do lead the league on the boards (38.2 rpg), while holding foes to 65.9 ppg on 42.4 percent shooting. With leading scorer Dontel Highsmith (10.5 ppg) out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, Darrell Bowie (9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) has assumed the role of go-to option. Bowie had 14 points against Buffalo, but he has only hit on 36.6 percent of his field goal attempts this season.
Kent State lost its recent contest with Toledo at the free-throw line. The Golden Flashes were outscored 27-9 at the stripe in the three-point decision, while committing 29 personal fouls. Darren Goodson scored 17 points to lead three players in double figures for the losing side.
The Golden Flashes have had more success offensively, especially compared to their opponent in this contest. They are third in the MAC in scoring (72.8 ppg), despite shooting at a 42.6 percent clip from the field. Kris Brewer (12.6 ppg) tops the team in terms of scoring, although Derek Jackson (10.9 ppg) and Goodson (10.3 ppg) are doing their parts as well. Brewer had 14 points on 7-of-16 shooting against Toledo and Jackson added 16 points on 6- of-10 from the floor. Devareaux Manley (9.8 ppg) has shown an ability to score as well, but he is too inconsistent from the field (.363 FG percentage).
Kent State already defeated Northern Illinois, with that decision coming on the road. With their home crowd behind them the Golden Flashes will have no trouble repeating the trick on Wednesday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 76, Northern Illinois 65
01/29 10:37:43 ET