Kent to face off against last-place Rockets

Cody Erbacher

With the win against Akron on Saturday, the Kent State men’s basketball team worked its way into a first-place tie in the Mid-American Conference East Division. The Flashes now have to maintain it.

Next up for Kent State (12-7, 3-2 MAC) is the MAC West Division’s last-place team, Toledo (3-16, 0-5).

Since Toledo has only three total wins, none of which are in the MAC, it could be easy to think Kent State players might look past the game.

“Right now I think our group understands the importance of each game,” senior guard Mike McKee said. “You can’t underestimate anyone in this league. I think we’ll keep the focus right where it needs to be in this next game.”

McKee said Kent State coach Geno Ford has been making sure the players stay focused.

“He’s (Ford’s) been keeping us in check,” McKee said. “It’s easy to get complacent after two wins like that. He’s just been keeping us level-headed, keeping us grounded.”

A key factor in today’s game will be the game play of sophomore forward Justin Greene, who is coming off his third career double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

“Anytime you’ve got a player in the low post playing as well as he’s playing, you’ve got to get him touches,” McKee said of Greene, who has increased his scoring average by 11.2 points per game from last season. “One of our focuses is to play inside-out.”

Yesterday, Greene received his second MAC East Player of the Week honor, which was the fourth time this season a Kent State player has been honored.

Toledo doesn’t have much to be proud about, but the team has hope in freshman guard Jake Barnett, who is the Rocket’s top scorer with 13.6 points per game. Barnett is the MAC’s top-scoring freshman.

Junior forward Justin Anyijong is second on the team with 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Anyijong’s numbers are respectable, but Kent State has five players averaging 7.6 points per games or more: Greene (13.4), senior guard Tyree Evans (11.9), junior guard Rodriquez Sherman (11.9), senior guard Chris Singletary (10.5) and McKee (7.6).

Game time is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on 100.1 FM.

Contact sports reporter Cody Erbacher at [email protected].