Men’s basketball releases 2014-2015 MAC schedule


Sophomore forward Khaliq Spicer dunks the ball in the game against Akron University Saturday, Feb. 2, 2014. The Flashes won 60-57 to defeat the Zips with a final three point basket scored in the last moments of the game.

Richie Mulhall

Last Tuesday the MAC officially released its 2014-2015 men’s basketball conference schedule.

The Kent State men’s basketball team will open MAC competition with five of its first seven conference games in the M.A.C. Center.

The Flashes will begin their 18-game league play with a home game against Bowling Green on Wednesday, Jan. 7. After a brief road trip to Northern Illinois the following game to face the Huskies on Saturday, Jan. 10, Kent State will return to the M.A.C. Center for a three-game home stand against Eastern Michigan, Ohio and Toledo.

At the conclusion of the home stand, the Flashes will travel to Muncie, Indiana to take on the Ball State Cardinals. Finally, Kent State will wrap up the opening, seven-game MAC slate with a home contest against Central Michigan.

Kent State 2014-15 Men’s Basketball Schedule

* = MAC game

11/15/2014 Youngstown State University
Youngstown, Ohio

11/18/2014 Malone University
Kent, Ohio

11/21/2014 Southern Illinois University
Kent, Ohio

11/22/2014 University of Illinois – Chicago
Kent, Ohio

11/23/2014 Yale University
Kent, Ohio

11/29/2014 Loyola University Chicago
Kent, Ohio

12/6/2014 Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, Ga.

12/14/2014 University of Arkansas – Little Rock
Little Rock, Ark.

12/19/2014 North Carolina A&T State University
Kent, Ohio

12/21/2014 North Dakota State University
El Paso, Texas

12/22/2014 TBD
El Paso, Texas

12/30/2014 University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kan.

1/2/2015 University of Texas-Pan American
Kent, Ohio

1/7/2015 * Bowling Green
Kent, Ohio

1/10/2015 * Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Ill.

1/14/2015 * Eastern Michigan University
Kent, Ohio

1/17/2015 * Ohio University
Kent, Ohio

1/21/2015 * University of Toledo
Kent, Ohio

1/24/2015 * Ball State University
Muncie, In.

1/27/2015 * Central Michigan University
Kent, Ohio

1/31/2015 * University at Buffalo
Buffalo, N.Y.

2/4/2015 * Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Mich.

2/7/2015 * Miami University (OH)
Kent, Ohio

2/10/2015 * University of Akron
Akron, Ohio

2/14/2015 * University of Toledo
Toledo, Ohio

2/18/2015 * Ball State University
Kent, Ohio

2/21/2015 * Ohio University
Athens, Ohio

2/24/2015 * Miami University (OH)
Oxford, Ohio

2/28/2015 * University at Buffalo
Kent, Ohio

3/3/2015 * Bowling Green
Bowling Green, Ohio

3/6/2015 * University of Akron
Kent, Ohio

Long before MAC competition commences in January, Kent State will open the 2014-2015 season with a close road game against Youngstown State on Saturday, Nov. 15. The Flashes’ home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 18, against Malone State as part of the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic, a four-game home stand in which the team will raise money to help fight breast cancer.

Entering his fourth season as head coach, Rob Senderoff returns seven letterwinners and three starters from last season. The team lost two senior leaders to graduation in Mark Henniger and Darren Goodson, but the Flashes’ top three scorers in the points per game category were all juniors and all return this season.

The core group of lettermen and returning starters will be joined by six Flashes who will play in their first season of eligibility at Kent State, including three players with Division I playing experience under their belt.

Kent State men’s basketball opens its season Saturday, Nov. 15, against Youngstown State.

Here are just a few games to watch for this upcoming season:

@ Youngstown State: Saturday, Nov. 15

The Flashes open their season on the road against a proximate rival in the Youngstown State Penguins. Last season the Flashes beat the Penguins, 83-79, at home. Youngstown State finished 15-17 last season, two games under .500.

Men Against Breast Cancer Classic: Nov. 18, 21, 22 and 23

Kent State will open its home season against Malone and play the University Of Illinois-Chicago, Southern Illinois University and Yale as part of the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic, an inaugural event during which the team will raise money to fight breast cancer.

While the MAC portion of the schedule has not been released as of press time, fans can look forward to exciting games, as well as the annual home showdown against Akron.

@University of Kansas: Tuesday, Dec. 30

Kent State’s toughest opponent this season will be the Kansas Jayhawks. The 2008 national champions went 25-10 last season and were knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the third round by the Stanford Cardinals. The Jayhawks fell to Stanford, 57-60, during March Madness this past spring.

The early winter contest will test the Flashes and serve as a good gauge to see how the team measures and matches up to the competition before it enters the MAC portion of its schedule.

vs. Bowling Green: Wednesday, Jan. 7

Kent State will tackle its first MAC challenge of the season against the Bowling Green Falcons in January. Bowling Green posted a disappointing 12-20 record last season, but defeated the Flashes, 73-66, at the end of February last year.

The Falcons top three scorers from last season all return this year, so the Flashes’ defense must be on top of its game to defend them efficiently. Top scorer and senior Richaun Holmes averaged 13.3 points per game and racked up 425 total points last winter and spring,

Men’s Basketball Quick Facts

Head Coach: Rob Senderoff is 58-42 entering his fourth season as head coach.

Assistant Coaches: Eric Haut, Bobby Steinburg, DeAndre Haynes.

2013-14 Record: 16-16

2013-14 Conference Record: 7-11

2013-14 Home Record: 11-7

2013-14 Away Record: 5-9

Championships: MAC East regular season (2002-2004, 2006, 2008, 2010-2011), MAC Tournament (2001-2002, 2006, 2008) NCAA Elite 8 (2002).

Key Returnees: Kris Brewer (senior), Derek Jackson (redshirt senior), Devareaux Manley (senior), Kellon Thomas (junior), Khaliq Spicer (junior). Key Losses: Mark Henniger, Darren Goodson.

Key Additions: Blake Vedder (redshirt senior), Xavier Pollard (senior), Craig Brown (graduate student).

Strengths: Three-point shooting, the guard position, experience, home games.

Weaknesses: Inconsistency, size, inside/paint presence, away games.

Right behind Holmes, junior Spencer Parker and senior Jehvon Clarke averaged 12.5 points per game. Clarke also led the team in field goal attempts (420) and field goals made (152).

@ University of Akron: Tuesday, Feb. 10

Kent State will renew its longtime rivalry with the Akron Zips Tuesday, February 10, inside the James A. Rhodes Arena. This game will be the first of two meetings this season as part of the annual PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge.

Last year the Flashes topped the Zips, 60-57, thanks to a game-winning buzzer beater, compliments of senior Darren Goodson, as time expired. When the two sworn enemies met a second time at James A. Rhodes, Akron gained the upper hand in the rematch, besting its rival, 58-54.

Tuesday’s mid-February matchup can serve as the rubber match that will settle the score between the two foes…for now.

vs. University of Akron: Friday, March 6

The battle between Kent State and Akron for bragging rights will continue as the Zips host the Flashes for the final game of the regular season on Friday, March 6. This will be the Flashes last regular season game leading up to the MAC Championship in March.

Last season the Miami Redhawks ousted Kent State from the tournament in the first round with a convincing 71-64 victory over the Flashes.