Kent State (12-9) at Central Michigan (7-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 5, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: KSU 9-5, CMU 5-5. Away Record: KSU 3-4, CMU 2-8. Neutral Record: KSU 0-0, CMU 0-0. Conference Record: KSU 4-4, CMU 0-8. Series Record: Kent State leads, 43-29.
GAME NOTES: Still in search of their first league win of the season, the Central Michigan Chippewas will go back to the drawing board when they face the Kent State Golden Flashes in Mid-American Conference action at McGuirk Arena.
A 60-57 win over Akron on Saturday ended a four-game losing streak for Kent State. The victory was a critical one for the Golden Flashes, as it came against one of the three teams tied for first in the MAC. They are now 12-9 overall, but below .500 when it comes to league play (3-5). A trip to face Eastern Michigan is next on the schedule.
Central Michigan nearly ended its long run of futility on Saturday, but came up short against Western Michigan (75-72). The loss was the eighth straight and 10th in the last 11 games for the Chippewas, who are 7-13 overall and winless in eight tries against conference competition. They will host Buffalo next.
If the Chippewas are hoping for a win they will need to reverse recent history, as Kent State has won 12 straight in the all-time series, which it leads 43-29.
Darren Goodson drained a 3-pointer with three seconds to play, which was the difference in Kent State's win over Akron. Goodson finished with 12 points as the only player in double figures for the Golden Flashes, who connected on 44.4 percent of their shots from the floor and forced 18 turnovers.
A look at Kent State's roster does not reveal a particularly impressive list of scorers. Kris Brewer (11.9 ppg) is the top option, but he is only shooting 39.2 percent from the floor and has had 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting over the last two games. Derek Jackson (10.7 ppg) and Goodson (10.3 ppg) are the next best options, although Goodson is also shooting below 40 percent on the season and Jackson has scored in double figures just once in the last five games. In all Kent State is ranked fifth in the MAC in scoring and eighth in field goal percentage (.424).
Despite a game-high 27 points from Chris Fowler, the Chippewas didn't have enough to overcome Western Michigan. Central Michigan had only five field goals in the first half, and finished the game shooting 41.3 percent from the field. The Chippewas also had only 17 rebounds.
Surprisingly enough, Central Michigan is actually scoring well this season, despite the lack of success in the standings. The Chippewas are second in the league in scoring (74.2 ppg) and fifth in field goal percentage (.443). However, they are second to last in the conference in rebounds (32 rpg), while allowing foes to connect on 48 percent from the floor. Fowler (17.9 ppg, 4.9 apg) keeps the Chippewas rolling offensively, leading the team in scoring and assists, while sinking 56.1 percent of his shots from the field. John Simons (10.8 ppg, 6 rpg) is the only other member of the team averaging in double figures. He had 12 points on 4-of-7 from 3-point range against Western Michigan.
Something has got to give eventually for Central Michigan, which has lost each of its last four games by single digits. Playing at home should help the Chippewas finally earn a conference victory, especially if Fowler can get hot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 72, Kent State 69
02/05 10:34:57 ET