KENT STATE (13-7, 4-2) vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN (11-8, 3-3)
Kent, Ohio | M.A.C. Center | 2:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio (Michael Reghi, Steve Mix)
Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM
By Stephanie Storm Beacon Journal staff writer
''It has been an incredible privilege to coach this kid. To be able to be around David Kool every day has been my pleasure as a coach. Everybody that's played with him and against him have respect for him. We're all richer for experiencing David's career here for four years.''
To understand the kind of player Kool is, all MAC followers need to know is that afterward, Kool repeatedly said he would have traded the long-sought-after record for a win.
''The chase has been real fun,'' Kool told reporters. ''I knew I was going to get here, but it seemed like it was never going to come. Now that it's here, it's a great honor, but I'm glad we can now put it behind us and focus on winning more games.''
The loss dropped Western Michigan (11-8, 3-3) into third place in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Kent State, on the other hand, has greatly improved its status recently in the MAC East, winning three consecutive games to pull into a first-place tie (13-7, 4-2) with the Zips.
Unlike Western Michigan, Kent State, which has won 12 consecutive games against MAC West opponents, really doesn't have a go-to player.
The leading scorer can be any player during any given game, although the Golden Flashes have recently found success during the winning streak by focusing on getting the ball to 6-foot-8 center Justin Greene.
Sophomore Greene is the reigning East Division Player of the Week. He averaged 16.5 points per game last week in leading the Flashes to wins over (then East-Division leading) Buffalo and UA, scoring 23 points and a career-high 13 rebounds on the Zips to hand them their worst lost of the season.
After the big win, the big guy was as humble as ever.
''My teammates do a good job looking for me,'' he said. ''The whole preseason, they were looking for me and telling me to score on the block and make plays. I've just been trying to deliver for them.''
After the game and away from all the microphones, Ford recounted a touching story about Greene. He said that when Kent State realized Greene was available and made a late effort to try and sign the Brooklyn, N.Y., native, the delivery man refused to venture into Greene's rough-and-tumble neighborhood.
Facing a tight deadline, Ford and his staff convinced the delivery man and Greene to go to nearby Lincoln High School in order to get the proper documents signed — safely and just in time.
Lincoln High is the same basketball powerhouse that produced NBA stars Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair. But with Greene not having played organized ball until his freshman year at Lincoln, Ford and his coaches were able to snag Greene and help mold him into a dominating presence in the post.
Against Western Michigan, the Flashes have to look out for Kool shooting from the perimeter, while the Broncos game plan will undoubtedly focus on denying Greene down low.
May the best man win.