Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UNCG (1-6) @ Kent State (4-5)

When: Thursday, Dec 18 7 pm
Where: Memorial Athletic and Convocation (M.A.C.) Center (6,327)
TV: None

Kent State Athletics
NewsFlashes - Kent State Blog
Kent State Forum - NCAAbbs
Kent State Forum - Rivals

Spartan Notes:
- In their last game, UNCG was destroyed by East Carolina in Greenville (97-53). Montel Smith led the Spartans in scoring (11 pts) while Ben Stywall pulled down 10 boards. Sam Hinnant led seven Pirates in double figures with 18 points. UNCG was outscored 56-21 in the second half.
- Last season, Kent State held on late to defeat UNCG 71-64 in Fleming Gym. Mikko Koivisto led UNCG with 22 points. Mike Scott scored 15 for Kent State.
- The Spartans have now dropped 5 straight games.
- Mikko Koivisto is leading UNCG in scoring (13.7) and assists (2.6). Ben Stywall is the leading rebounder (8.9). The Spartans are averaging 17 turnovers per game. Nine players are averaging double figures in minutes played.
- For the season, UNCG is shooting 36.7% from the field, 27.1% from 3 point range and 62.9%from the free throw line.

Golden Flashes Notes:
- Kent State was the MAC tournament Champion and an NCAA tournament participant last season. They finished with a record of 28-6.
- Kent State defeated Youngstown State 82-74 in their last game. Al Fisher led three Kent State players in double figures with 20 points.
- My recap on of Kent State's wins/losses/RPI can be found here.
- Fisher (17.8 pts and 3.7 assists) and Chris Singletary (16.4 points and 3.1 assists) are the Golden Flashes best offensive weapons. Brandon Parks is leading Kent State in rebounds (6.4).
- For the year, Kent State is shooting 46% from the field, 30.3% from behind the arc and 62.6% from the free throw line.

My Thoughts:
When I sat down and put together a preview for the ECU game, the stats of that team just jumped off the page. Even though East Carolina had played several non-D1 teams, they just appeared to have a lot more firepower than the Spartans. I guess that I can say that it didn't come as much of a surprise that they whipped UNCG last Saturday night.

By that same token, there's not a whole lot from Kent State, statistics-wise, that jump out at me. They seem to be an average team that spreads a lot of their stats out. Their record indicates much of the same thing. They have a nice win over UNCW and took Illinios to overtime before eventually losing. Fisher appears to be the closest thing the Golden Flashes have to a star player. However, there seem to be a lot of solid role players.

To have a shot on Thursday, I could go down the same 'ol "laundry list" of things that UNCG must do well. Turnovers, free throw shooting, poor rebounding and foul trouble have all taken turns tripping up UNCG. But lately UNCG has just been awful after halftime. In all but the Charlotte game, the Spartans have been very competitive in the first half and then failed to make anything happen in the second half. That's got to change.

This road trip (@ Kent State 12/18 and @Dayton 12/20) through Ohio will be a homecoming for freshman Damian Eargle. Maybe he can elevate his game and help UNCG snap this 5 game skid.