Kent State (9-6) at Ball State (7-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: KSU 6-4, BSU 5-3. Away Record: KSU 3-2, BSU 2-3. Neutral Record: KSU 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: KSU 0-1, BSU 1-0. Series Record: Ball State leads, 38-37.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes look to even up their Mid-American Conference record as they visit Worthen Arena to take on the Ball State Cardinals.
The Golden Flashes reeled off four consecutive victories to close out their non-conference slate before they were defeated, 70-58, by Toledo in their league opener on Wednesday. Rob Senderoff's squad still has a decent 9-6 record which gives it the third most wins in the MAC behind Akron and Ohio.
Ball State managed to begin its MAC season on the right note as Chris Bond sank a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock to lift the team to a 60-58 decision over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday. The victory was the second straight for the Cardinals, who are now 7-6 overall. Although coach Billy Taylor's unit has managed to climb back over the .500 mark, it is still being outscored by an average of 2.7 points per tilt.
Although the Golden Flashes have won their last eight games versus Ball State in a winning streak that dates back to Jan. 11, 2006, the Cardinals still hold a narrow 38-37 all-time series lead. Kent State completed a 21-point rout of the Cardinals in last season's encounter.
Kent State had scored 72 points or more in each segment of its four-game winning streak before it was stifled by the Rockets. The Golden Flashes shot just 32.1 percent from the floor and were outscored, 14-2, in fast break points. The setback snapped the program's 31-game winning streak against MAC West Division opponents. Senior forward Chris Evans led Kent State with 20 points and seven rebounds. Fellow senior Randal Holt added 10, but struggled from the field in a 2-for-15 shooting night. Evans is the second leading scorer in the MAC with 16.2 points per game, while Holt is 10th with 13.2 ppg.
The Cardinals were very aggressive in their contest at EMU as they attacked the basket to put in 58.5 percent of their field goal tries and outscore the hosts, 34-20, in the paint. Bond and Jauwan Scaife tallied 18 points each in the thriller. A few role players made an impact as well as Matt Kamieniecki pulled down seven rebounds while Jesse Berry dealt out six assists to help the Cardinals notch their second win in a row. Berry on contributed eight points on 3-of-7 shooting versus the Eagles, but he still paces the team with 13.8 ppg. Scaife is chipping in 11.7 points per outing while junior forward Majok Majok averages a double-double with 10.8 points and 10.2 boards per outing. Majok has been in a slump lately with only six points and eight rebounds per contest over his last four, but Bond appears to be picking up the slack quite nicely.
The homecourt edge may be enough to keep the Cardinals' winning streak alive depending on which version of Kent State takes the floor. The Golden Flashes have plenty of potential to make a run at this year's MAC title, but Holt will need to be much more efficient from the field for that to happen.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 73, Ball State 67
01/12 10:50:23 ET