Kent State men’s basketball takes on Chicago State in M.A.C. Center

Nick Shook

Kent State continues its five-game season-opening home stand Friday, when the Flashes host Chicago State for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the M.A.C. Center.

After two games against favored visiting opponents, Kent State (1-1) will receive somewhat of a breather tonight in the opening game of the four-game Joe Cipriano Nebraska Classic.

Chicago State, a member of the Great West Conference, returns just one starter from a squad that finished 2011-12 with a 4-26 overall record. The program, led by second-year head coach Tracy Dildy, has never made a postseason appearance in its history. Its all-time winning percentage in Division I is 39.9 percent. The Cougars have won just 10 games in two seasons under Dildy.

However, the Cougars are coming off an 81-65 victory over Concordia Chicago on Tuesday. They also boast the conference’s preseason Player of the Year, Jeremy Robinson, who enters tonight’s game averaging 17 points and nine rebounds for the Cougars.

The Flashes are looking to get back on the winning side of the standings following an 80-66 loss to Temple on Tuesday afternoon at the M.A.C. Center. Sophomore guard Kris Brewer made 8 of 13 shots to finish with a career-high 19 points in the loss.

Forward senior Chris Evans scored 17 points, but had eight turnovers. Evans averaged 19 points per game in two games and earned Mid-American Conference East division Player of the Week honors last week for his 21-point performance in a 66-62 overtime victory over Drexel.

Forward Mark Henniger hasn’t exactly filled the statistics sheet in the first two games of the season, but he has played a valuable role, Flashes coach Rob Senderoff said.

“We stat a lot of things that don’t go in the stat sheet,” Senderoff said during a press conference Monday. “We have a term for it we call ‘we-go points.’ Not your ego, but we, as a team, go. He led our team in all of those stats.”

Kent State turned the ball over 21 times in the loss to Temple. Henniger emphasized the importance of ball control versus Chicago State.

“[Chicago State is a] high-intensity team and they force a lot of turnovers,” Henniger said. “They trap a lot. We’ve got to handle pressure.”

Despite the Cougars’ history of losing, Henniger and his teammates refuse to overlook them.

“We’re just treating this game like any other,” Henniger said. “We’re not concentrating on their wins and losses cause we know we have to play hard to win.”

Following their game against Chicago State, the Flashes will have a day off Saturday before hosting Valparaiso at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].