Eastern Michigan (10-10) at Kent State (11-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M.A.C. Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: SportsTime Ohio. Home Record: EMU 10-2, KSU 6-6. Away Record: EMU 0-8, KSU 5-4. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 3-3, KSU 2-5. Series Record: Kent State leads, 38-30.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes are hovering just above the .500 mark entering their Mid-American Conference bout with the Eastern Michigan Eagles at the M.A.C. Center on Saturday.
Although KSU is just 11-10 on the season, it holds a 38-30 edge in its all- time series versus EMU. The Eagles have lost 16 consecutive games to Kent State dating back to Feb. 7, 1998 when Earl Boykins guided the Eagles to a five-point victory.
EMU had its mid-week matchup with Ohio University postponed due to a security threat reported just off of Ohio's campus in Athens. The Eagles are 10-10 on the campaign after submitting a record-setting defensive display in their 42-25 victory over Northern Illinois last weekend in Ypsilanti. For the game, the Huskies shot just 8-of-61 from the floor (.131) and 1-of-33 from beyond the arc (.003) to tie the lowest field- goal percentage in NCAA history since the beginning of the shot clock era in 1986. NIU managed just four points in the opening 20 minutes, which set a new NCAA record for fewest points in a half. Coach Rob Murphy's team, which has lost all eight of its true road games, will try to parlay the extra rest and momentum into its first victory outside of Ypsilanti. Senior guard Derek Thompson is leading the way offensively for EMU, tallying 11.2 points per game. Pacing the Eagles in rebounding is junior center Da'Shonte Riley who is posting 6.1 boards and 2.3 blocks per game.
EMU managed to climb back to .500 thanks to its unmatched ability to stifle its opposition. It is leading the MAC in scoring defense at just 59.4 ppg. The Eagles' defensive prowess allowed them to get away with a scoring output of just 42 points versus NIU. Although the Huskies shot much worse from the floor, EMU hit just 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) of its field goal tries and had 10 assists to 15 turnovers in the win. Glenn Bryant tallied 10 points, but was the only player for either side in double figures.
Kent State suffered its fourth loss in a row on Wednesday as it dropped a 67-65 decision to Northern Illinois, one game after the Huskies were stifled by EMU. Coach Rob Senderoff's squad was unable to pull off a second-half rally as Randal Holt and Chris Evans suffered through a tough night on the road. Holt went just 4-for-17 from the field and 1-for-10 on 3-point tries. Evans, who leads the Flashes in scoring (16.1 per game) and rebounding (7.0) this season, scored just seven points and did not grab a rebound in 30 minutes.
Even though they have lost their last four games, the Golden Flashes are still one of just four MAC schools with a positive scoring margin (+ 2.1 ppg). Holt is second on the squad with 13.7 points and 1.5 steals per game, but he is converting a mere 33.3 percent of his attempts from the floor. Kent State has not been able to share the ball effectively or limit mistakes during its current slide. Over the past four games, it has averaged 10 assists to 15.5 turnovers per game and also been held under 40 percent shooting in three of the losses.
The shots will not fall any easier for KSU against the defensively rigid Eagles. While EMU is winless on the road, all but one of the schools it visited currently have a winning record. The Golden Flashes are one game above the .500 mark, but they are also tied for last place in the conference standings. Murphy's unit can notch that elusive first road win with ease if its defensive intensity remains the same, which should be even more possible after a full week's rest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 64, Kent State 60
02/02 10:35:20 ET