KENT: It was only two weeks ago that Devareaux Manley beat the final buzzer with a falling-away 3-pointer to allow Kent State to steal a win against Bowling Green, which held 13-point leads at two points in that game.
Coming off a loss to Buffalo, Kent State (15-12, 6-8) again draws Bowling Green (11-16, 5-9), although this time on the road at 7 tonight.
This time, the hope is that Manley’s heroics won’t be needed and that the Golden Flashes can limit the Falcons’ scoring runs, which came in bursts of fast-break buckets.
“They’re not a team that scores a ton of points in transition but they scored 26 against us, and that’s just too many,” Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. “We were fortunate we made enough plays offensively to overcome that, but on the road, that’s going to be very difficult.”
It’s the third consecutive difficult draw for KSU forward Khaliq Spicer, who had to match up with Miami’s Will Felder and more recently Buffalo’s Javon McCrea. Both players had great games (at least 22 points) against the younger Spicer, a sophomore.
Now he gets Bowling Green senior Cameron Black, who had a career-high 18 points in their initial meeting. Senderoff is letting Spicer take his lumps now while allowing him to see the best competition the MAC has to offer.
“He [Spicer] has been thrown into the fire and we’re certainly asking a lot of him, probably more than he’s ready for right now,” Senderoff said.
“But that’s OK. It’ll serve him well down the road. He needs to progress as a player and part of progressing is getting yourself up to those challenges and competing at a high level against everybody.”
The Falcons employ a balanced offensive approach, so stopping Black is only the first step. Guard Jehvon Clarke also had 18 points against KSU on Feb. 12. While he didn’t have a great game, Bowling Green forward Richaun Holmes is one of the best players in the conference, Senderoff said.
KSU needs to do a better job of not letting Black or Holmes catch the ball near the basket, Senderoff said. But with several scoring options inside and on the perimeter, there’s a needed balance on defense.
“Each day it’s a different guy for them that plays really well,” Senderoff said. “I thought we did a decent job against [Holmes], but because Cam was playing so well, they went to him a lot. We have to stick to our principles. They have things that they do well individual-wise and we have to take those things away from them.”
Kent State offered a full-ride scholarship Saturday to Loveland junior Ian Leever on its Junior Day (the first of the year), according to Cincinnati.com.
Leever, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound, three-star offensive tackle according to Scout.com, also has offers from Cincinnati, Toledo, Middle Tennessee State, Ball State and James Madison.
Leever was a key member of Loveland’s Division II state championship team this season.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.