Kent State (5-4) at Xavier (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 9, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cintas Center (10,250) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: Fox Sports Ohio. Home Record: Kent State 3-3, Xavier 3-1. Away Record: Kent State 2-1, Xavier 1-0. Neutral Record: Kent State 0-0, Xavier 2-1. Conference Record: Kent State 0-0, Xavier 0-0. Series Record: Xavier leads, 12-4.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes will try to end their two-game losing slide as they visit the Cintas Center for a non-conference bout with the Xavier Musketeers.
The Golden Flashes are still winless in December after their 76-60 loss to the Bucknell Bison on Tuesday. Kent State closed out the month of November with wins over Bethune-Cookman, Nebraska, and Youngstown State, but it endured a 12-point loss to Princeton three days before its loss to the Bison. Coach Rob Senderoff's squad is now 5-4 overall. Kent State is narrowly outscoring its opponents by 0.9 points per contest. It is shooting 42.8 percent from the floor while its opposition has made 47 percent of its field goal tries.
Chris Mack's Musketeers had their three-game winning streak snapped by a 66-64 overtime loss to Vanderbilt on Thursday. The setback gives his team a 6-2 record that includes impressive victories over Butler, Robert Morris, Drake, and Purdue. Xavier is generating 72.1 ppg on the offensive end with a 51.1 field goal percentage. Its opponents are scoring 63.6 ppg on 43 percent shooting.
This will be the 17th meeting in history between these Buckeye State schools. Xavier leads the all-time series 12-4. The Musketeers have not played the Golden Flashes since Dec. 4, 2009.
Kent State really struggled inside against Bucknell its last time out as the Bison held a 34-22 edge in the rebounding battle and scored 14 more points in the paint. The Golden Flashes were held under 40 percent shooting and allowed Bucknell to convert the high rate of 54.7 from the floor. Devareaux Manley came off the bench to lead the team with 15 points. Senior forward Chris Evans finished 2-of-12 with five points. Evans leads the team with 16.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg and senior guard Randal Holt also scores in double figures with a 14.1 ppg average.
Xavier held a six-point halftime lead in its recent loss to Vandy, but it cooled off after the break to go 39.1 percent from the field including an 0- of-4 mark on attempts from 3-point range. The Musketeers missed a pair of opportunities to put the game away in regulation as Justin Martin and Semaj Christon both missed potentially game-winning shots in the final minute. Travis Taylor led the team with 15 points, while Martin, Christon, and Isaiah Philmore scored in double figures as well. All four are carrying double-digit scoring averages with Christon, a freshman guard from Cincinnati, leading the team with 15.4 points and six assists per outing. Taylor is the team's best rebounder with 6.1 rpg.
The Musketeers showed their youth last time out as they let a big lead slip away, but they are clearly a talented bunch. Kent State has some top level performers as well, but winning in the Cintas Center is going to be a very hard task for the struggling Golden Flashes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 72, Kent State 62
12/09 10:31:51 ET