Kent State (9-3) at Princeton (9-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 31, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jadwin Gym (6,854) -- Princeton, New Jersey. Television: None. Home Record: KSU 7-2, Princeton 4-0. Away Record: KSU 2-1, Princeton 4-1. Neutral Record: KSU 0-0, Princeton 1-1. Conference Record: KSU 0-0, Princeton 0-0. Series Record: Princeton leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams gunning for their 10th win of the season get together in New Jersey this afternoon, as the Princeton Tigers close out the calendar year with a meeting against the Kent State Golden Flashes.
The Tigers, a perfect 4-0 at home, have not played since they suffered a 93-79 setback against Portland back on Dec. 21. The defeat snapped an eight-game win streak by the program, but was still just the second loss overall after bowing to Butler by a mere three points in the second game of the campaign. Today's game marks the first for Princeton at home since hosting Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 7.
As for the Golden Flashes, they began the season with eight wins in the first nine games, but more recently the group has bowed in two of three outings. The latest setback came against Cleveland State at home over the weekend in a 78-70 final.
In terms of the all-time series, the Tigers won the only previous meeting by a score of 62-50 last year.
During a meeting that featured six ties and eight lead changes, the Golden Flashes came out on the short end of an eight-point decision against visiting Cleveland State on Saturday. Derek Jackson scored 18 points and pulled down five rebounds for the hosts, but he also shot just 6-of-11 at the free-throw line, the team hitting 19-of-29 at the stripe. Darren Goodson and Mark Henniger both tallied 14 points and combined for 14 rebounds, the latter clearing six at the offensive end alone.
Although he did not score in double figures versus the Vikings, Kris Brewer is still the top scorer overall for Kent State with his 11.7 ppg, with Jackson following close behind with 11.4 ppg of his own, thanks in large part to 43.2 percent accuracy beyond the arc. Goodson (10.8 ppg) may be hitting shots at just 35.9 percent from the field, but considering he leads the team with 35 assists and is one of the top rebounders with 4.4 per contest, it is tough to keep him on the floor.
The Tigers shot an impressive 54.3 percent from the field against Portland at South Point Arena in Las Vegas, but at the same time Princeton allowed the Pilots to connect on 56.3 percent from the floor and 8-of-15 beyond the arc, not to mention watching the opponent hit on 31-of-37 at the free-throw line. T.J. Bray tried to keep things interesting with 25 points, followed by Jimmy Sherburne and Will Barrett with 15 and 11 points, respectively, for a squad that suffered 17 turnovers.
Bray, the leading scorer in two straight and three of the last four outings overall, maintains a top position in that department with his 17.1 ppg, having made good on 51.4 percent of his field goals and 42.5 percent on the perimeter. Despite appearing in just seven games and making five starts, Bray is also first on the unit with 49 assists. Hans Brase (11.5 ppg) has proven that he can not only handle action in the paint (5.7 rpg), he can also lend a hand from 3-point range with 42.9 percent accuracy.
Shooting close to 40 percent beyond the arc over the first 11 games of the campaign, the Tigers live and die on the outside and unless Kent State is prepared to defend accordingly, it could be a long day for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Princeton 78, Kent State 69
12/31 10:45:34 ET