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With rivals Kent State and Akron tipping off in a Mid-American Conference Tournament Semifinal game in an hour and a half, here’s a little primer for tonight’s action at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena:
Teams - No. 4 Kent State (20-12) vs. No. 1 Akron (24-6).
Head Coaches - Scond-year Kent State coach Rob Senderoff (40-24) vs. Nine-year Akron coach Keith Dambrot (208-93).
Head-to-Head this Season – Despite the Flashes playing one of their better Akron was the winner in the first matchup, topping the host Golden Flashes 71-67 in Kent Jan. 19. But KSU took advantage of the host Zips being without junior point guard Alex Abreu a week ago today following his arrest, defeating the Zips 68-64 at James A. Rhodes Arena in the regular season finale.
Series Leader - Kent State owns a slight, 70-67 advantage in the all-time series.
Kent State Notes - Senior guard/forward Chris Evans is fourth in the league in scoring (16.6) and rebounding (7.7) and ranks third in steals (2.0)…Senior guard Randal Holt is the Flashes second-leading scorer at (14.4) and leads the MAC in 3-pointers made (80) while also leading the conference in free-throw shooting percentage (.856)...Sophomore guard Kris Brewer is third on the team in scoring (9.5) and leads the league in 3-point field-goal percentage (45.3)… Kent State has won six straight games and nine of its last 11 since starting the MAC season 2-5…The Flashes notched their 20th victory for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons with a 70-68 victory over Buffalo Thursday in quarterfinal play…Kent State ranks first in the MAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (.373).
Akron Notes - The Zips are led by 7-foot senior center Zeke Marshall, who is the MAC’s top shot blocker (3.6) and field-goal percentage leader (.659). The First Team All-MAC performer and Defensive Player of the Year leads Akron in scoring (13.0) and ranks second in rebounding (6.9) behind forward junior Demetrius Treadwell, who’s averaging 11.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game…The Zips claimed their second consecutive MAC regular-season championship recently thanks to a 19-game winning streak. But they stumbled down the stretch with two loses in their last three games to Buffalo and KSU…The Zips rank second in the MAC in scoring offense (73.3 ppg), scoring defense (62.6), field-goal percentage (45.7) and rebounding margin (plus-5.7). They are tops in field-goal percentage defense (39.3), offensive rebounds (13.1) and blocks (5.7)…
Up Next - The winner of tonight’s game faces the winner the other semifinal matchup between Ohio and Western Michigan in a game televised by ESPN2…If the Flashes don’t win the MAC Tournament and earn it’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the postseason is still in play, having already received invitations to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the College Basketball Invitational Tournament.