KENT: Kent State, winner of three consecutive games, is arguably the hottest team in the Mid-American Conference but faces one of the MAC’s best.
The Golden Flashes (15-11, 6-7) seem to have recovered from a poor start to conference play and are in fourth place in the MAC East. At noon today, Kent State will host Buffalo (15-8, 9-4), which along with the University of Akron leads the East division by one game over Ohio and three over Kent State.
Sophomore forward Khaliq Spicer will draw his second tough assignment in a row after he was deployed to guard Miami forward Will Felder on Wednesday. Felder scored 23 points in that game, but Kent State coach Rob Senderoff was pleased with Spicer’s defense, saying that Felder was going to score no matter what and Spicer made him work for his points.
Now he’ll go up against Buffalo’s Javon McCrea, one of the MAC’s best players.
McCrea enters today’s game averaging 18.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, placing him second and first in the MAC in those categories, respectively, and makes him a Player of the Year candidate. For Kent State to continue its climb up the MAC East ladder, Spicer will likely have to turn in an even better performance. Senderoff isn’t looking for Spicer to keep McCrea below 10 or 12 points, just that he forces Buffalo to work to get him the ball.
“Felder had a good game but I thought Spicer did, too. He had nine rebounds, three blocks, affected more shots,” Senderoff said. “If you’re playing a guy like Felder, like McCrea, they’re going to score because they’re going to touch the ball. It’s about making them work for their points, making them earn it, making it hard for him to catch the ball deep and keeping them off the free throw line. Spicer did that [against Miami].”
Kent State will have its hands full with another Buffalo forward, 6-foot-8 Will Regan, who torched the Golden Flashes in their previous meeting this season with a career-high 25 points. Regan has been playing well, as has guard Jarod Oldham, making the Bulls multidimensional. The Bulls are the only team in the division that can match KSU’s 4-2 mark in February.
“Right now, offensively, they’re playing the best of any team in the MAC,” Senderoff said. “Everyone’s going to focus on McCrea, as we need to. But they have a number of guys that can affect the game. McCrea is the straw that stirs the drink for them but they have a lot of guys who are very capable.”
Kent State is showing interest in Cincinnati Hughes Center High School guard Kevin Daniels, reports Cincinnati.com.
Daniels, 6-foot-2, averaged 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this season and was named first-team Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference.
“They have been very active since our visit there this summer to their team camp,” Hughes coach Bryan Wyant said.
In baseball recruiting news, Cincinnati Elder junior pitcher/infielder Shane Smith will visit Kent State today,according to Cincinnati.com. Smith was 2-2 with a 2.10 ERA last 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.