Kent State (10-6) at Buffalo (5-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (10,500) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: SportsTime Ohio. Home Record: Kent State 6-4, Buffalo 3-3. Away Record: Kent State 4-2, Buffalo 2-5. Neutral Record: Kent State 0-3, Buffalo 0-0. Conference Record: Kent State 1-1, Buffalo 0-2. Series Record: Kent State leads, 25-8.
GAME NOTES: The Buffalo Bulls aim to turn things around as they remain at Alumni Arena to host the Kent State Golden Flashes in a Mid-American Conference matchup.
The Bulls lost the first portion of their current three-game homestand to Miami-Ohio on Saturday, as they overcame a 20-point deficit in the second half before the RedHawks stole the win at the free throw line. The setback dropped Buffalo to 5-11 overall and 0-2 in the MAC standings. Javon McCrea is doing his best to get Buffalo back on track. The junior forward is pacing the team with 15.8 points and 6.8 boards per outing. Will Regan is chiming in a double-digit scoring average with 10.7 ppg, but Buffalo has struggled since Jarod Oldham (10.1 ppg, 4.4 apg, 5.3 rpg) was lost to a wrist injury.
The incoming Golden Flashes will provide a challenge as they are third in the league in scoring with 69.9 ppg. Although it did not reach its average, Kent State was impressive its last time out as it completed a 61-47 rout of Ball State to improve to 10-6 overall and 1-1 in league action. Chris Evans is leading the squad in both scoring (16.6) and rebounding (7.3) while Randal Holt is tallying 13.4 points per contest. Kent State is getting a little help back just in time for MAC play, as freshman forward Chris Ortiz will play his second game since breaking his foot in late November.
Buffalo will have to overcome history in addition to its current three-game losing streak. Kent State owns a 25-8 all-time series edge over the Bulls thanks to its 76-71 victory in the most recent meeting between these schools. Buffalo managed to squeak out a 66-65 decision in the last encounter at Alumni Arena on Jan. 7, 2012.
The 3-point arc was not a friend to the Bulls in their last appearance, as they netted only 2-of-19 in the loss to Miami. Jarryn Skeete especially struggled, going just 1-of-8 from distance. McCrea recorded his second double- double in three outings with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks while Cameron Downing provided a spark off the bench with 14 points in 16 minutes. The team converted only 37 percent of its field goal attempts as its scoring offense average was lessened to 63.8 ppg. Defensively, the Bulls are seventh in the MAC with an allowed average of 65.7 ppg.
Its last time out, Kent State wasted no time taking control as it jumped out to a 35-20 halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way. It knocked down 40.4 percent of its field goal attempts, which is good considering the Cardinals went 17-of-61 from the floor (27.9 percent) in the affair. Holt led the way with 16 points while Evans made it seven consecutive games in double-figures with 14 points.
Although the Golden Flashes are mostly a two-man show, they still trump Buffalo's one man gang. Until McCrea begins to get noticeable help from his teammates, the Bulls will continue to find themselves trailing on the scoreboard when the buzzer sounds.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 66, Buffalo 61
01/16 10:46:53 ET