Kent State (10-5) at Northern Illinois (7-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Kent State 8-3, Northern Illinois 4-3. Away Record: Kent State 2-2, Northern Illinois 3-4. Neutral Record: Kent State 0-0, Northern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Kent State 1-0, Northern Illinois 1-1. Series Record: Kent State leads, 32-18.
GAME NOTES: Both the Kent State Golden Flashes and Northern Illinois Huskies look to string some wins together as they clash in a Mid-American Conference battle at the Convocation Center.
After losing three consecutive games, Kent State defeated Ball State, 86-74, to take its first conference win of the season. The Golden Flashes began the season 8-1, but have since gone 2-4.
Northern Illinois has had a roller coaster of a season so far, not being able to string more than two wins together this year. The Huskies defeated Bowling Green in a horrific offensive showcase, 45-36, Sunday. The win, coupled with a victory against Bethune-Cookman, sandwiched a loss to Buffalo.
Kent State has a commanding all-time series lead against Northern Illinois, 32-18, although the Huskies won the most recent matchup. In DeKalb, the teams have split the series, 13-13.
A strong second half helped Kent State defeat Ball State, 86-74, Saturday at home. The Golden Flashes recorded their first MAC win this season, despite falling behind at halftime, 39-32. Darren Goodson came off the bench to score a team-high 23 points for Kent State on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. Goodson added seven rebounds in 28 minutes of action. Kris Brewer contributed 18 points and hit 7-of-9 from the free-throw line in the win. Derek Jackson was the third and final double-digit scorer for the Golden Flashes at 12 points.
Brewer paces Kent State this season in scoring with 11.9 ppg, followed by Jackson at 10.9 ppg and Goodson with 10.8 ppg. Brewer leads the team in assists with 40 on the year, while Goodson is close behind with 39. Mark Henniger leads the team in rebounding, averaging 5.5 rpg for the Golden Flashes. As a team, Kent State is shooting 43.1 percent from the field and scoring 74.3 ppg.
Northern Illinois trailed Bowling Green by a point with three minutes to play in the Huskies' last outing, but managed to grab the lead in the final minutes and hold on for the 45-36 victory. The shooting performance from either team was detestable, as Northern Illinois connected on 32.6 percent of its shots from the field, while Bowling Green hit on 29.3 percent in the game. The Huskies wen 5-of-20 shooting in the second half, which, thankfully for NIU, was what BGSU shot in the first half. Both the Huskies and Falcons shot below 47 percent from the free-throw line as well.
Dontel Highsmith, who is out after undergoing knee surgery, is still Northern Illinois' top scorer after playing in 11 of the team's 14 games. Highsmith has a 10.5 ppg average - the only player to this point in the season to average double-digit scoring numbers for NIU. Darrell Bowie is second on the squad with 9.6 ppg, and leads the team in rebounding at 7.4 rpg. Travon Baker, who is third in scoring at 7.7 ppg, tops the team in assists with 33. The Huskies average just 63 ppg.
The shooting troubles for Northern Illinois have been well documented recently. Kent State hasn't exactly been explosive either, but should have no trouble handling the Huskies if they play nearly as poor as their last outing.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 65, Northern Illinois 58
01/15 10:37:03 ET