Men’s basketball one win away from hosting CIT game

Stephen Means II

Kent State will take on Northern Arizona on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Tournament.

The Flashes come into this game with a 23-11 (12-6 MAC) record and reached this point on two critical wins: A first-round win over Middle Tennessee (19-17, 9-9 C-USA) 68-56, and Texas A&M-CC (20-14, 13-5 Southland) 69-65. Both were games outside of regular season bracket play.

Redshirt sophomore forward Jimmy Hall has led the way for the Flashes averaging 21.5 points and 10.5 rebounds over the past two games. The First Team All-MAC recipient averages a team-leading 15.9 points and 7.5 rebounds for the season.

“He’s just getting better and better,” coach Rob Senderoff said. “He’s played well the last couple of games and it would be great if we got another game like that tomorrow night.”

The senior backcourt — Devareaux Manley, who averages 13.2 points; Kris Brewer, 10.8 points; and Derek Jackson, 10.4 points — has played a key role for the Flashes this season as well.

Northern Arizona comes into the game with a record of 21-14 (13-5 Big Sky Conference). The Lumberjacks beat Grand Canyon (17-15, 8-6 WAC) 75-70, and Sacramento State (21-12, 13-5 Big Sky) 78-73, outside of bracket play.

The Lumberjacks lost in the second round of the Big Sky tournament to Montana (20-13, 14-4 Big Sky), 61-59.

The backcourt combination of seniors Quinton Upshur, 14.6 points; Aaseem Dixon, 12.8 points; and sophomore Kris Yanku,13.6 points, leads Northern Arizona.

“They’re a tough and physical team,” Senderoff said of Northern Arizona. “They remind me a lot of Bowling Green in our league.”

If the Flashes win on Friday, they will host the CIT semifinal Tuesday. March 31.

“We’re just excited to still be playing this late in the year,” Senderoff said. “It would be exciting to play a televised game on our own floor, but we have to take care of business here first.”

Tip-off versus Northern Arizona is scheduled for 10 p.m. in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Contact Stephen Means II at [email protected].