Toledo (4-7) at Kent State (9-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 2-1, Kent State 6-3. Away Record: Toledo 2-6, Kent State 3-2. Neutral Record: Toledo 0-0, Kent State 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 0-0, Kent State 0-0. Series Record: Toledo leads, 78-45.
GAMES NOTES: The streaking Kent State Golden Flashes will look to keep rolling into Mid-American Conference play on Wednesday night when they host the Toledo Rockets in an instate battle at the MAC Center.
Toledo had its first two-game winning streak of the season halted last time out with a 58-53 loss to Chicago State. The Rockets are now 4-7 this season as they begin league play. Playing on the road won't help the cause either as the Rockets are just 2-6 in away games this year. Next up Toledo hosts Central Michigan.
After a 72-55 victory over Cleveland State last Wednesday the Golden Flashes have now won four straight games and improved their overall record to 9-5. That is tied for the second best mark among conference foes as teams get their league schedules underway this week. The Golden Flashes will be on the road in their next two contests against Ball State and Buffalo.
These rivals have met a total of 123 times previously with Toledo holding a 78-45 edge. Last season Kent State swept the series to earn its fifth straight victory against the Rockets.
In a game that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes Toledo just didn't have enough offense down the stretch to take out Chicago State. The Rockets shot just 31.3 percent from the field in the contest and were outscored 33-9 from beyond the arc.
The normally explosive Rian Pearson was kept in check. The MAC's leading scorer (19.2 ppg) was held to 14 points, which was the third-lowest point total for him this season. Pearson is also the top rebounder on the squad (6.4 rpg), despite being a 6-foot-4 guard. Julius Brown (13.5 ppg, 4.2 apg) teams with Pearson in the backcourt and has been a solid second option as well as the team's best distributor. Outside of those two there is not a whole lot of depth with only four other players scoring more than a point per game.
Kent State put on another offensive show against Cleveland State as the Golden Flashes shot 47.9 percent from the field and nailed seven triples en route to the 17-point victory. Kent State played well on defense as well holding the Vikings to less than 40 percent shooting.
On the campaign Kent State has been the third highest scoring team in the MAC (71.4 ppg), despite shooting at just a 43.4 percent clip from the floor. The Golden Flashes have not been as successful on the defensive end as they let up 67.6 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting, although they have limited two opponents in the last four games to fewer than 60 points. Chris Evans (16.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the top scorer on the roster. The 6-foot-8 forward has scored in double figures in 13-of-14 games and can spread the floor with his ability to step out and knock down shots from beyond the arc. Randal Holt (13.4 ppg) provides additional scoring punch out of the backcourt but has shot just 34.3 percent from the floor.
Non-conference play went relatively well for Kent State. Led by Evans the Golden Flashes should be more than capable of keeping up with Pearson and company to keep their win streak alive.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 74, Toledo 67
01/09 10:33:00 ET