Flashes head to Ball State

Deanna Stevens

Junior forward Haminn Quaintance looks around a Bowling Green defender for a passing lane in the Flashes 62-61 win last Saturday. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Adam Griffiths

After going 3-2 in the Mid-American Conference East division, the Kent State men’s basketball team will face its first challenge in the West, 7 p.m. tonight at Ball State.

Kent State coach Jim Christian said people should not get caught up in the division breakdown.

“All MAC games are the same,” Christian said. “You can take the jerseys off and the names off the uniforms, but it’s the same game. Whether they’re in the West or the East, it’s competitive. Teams are fighting to protect their home court. It doesn’t make a difference what side of the division they are on.”

Christian added that the teams in the MAC are so competitive because they believe they have a chance at the No. 1 spot.

“Everyone thinks, at this juncture, after five games, that they can win the league.” Christian said. “And everybody should feel that way, because there is really nobody who has separated themselves at this point.”

A win would be Christian’s 100th at Kent State, but he said that is not what’s important.

“It’s not about me,” Christian said. “It’s about the program and trying to put our team in position to have a successful season.”

A win tonight would also be Kent State’s first at Ball State since Nov. 1999. The Cardinals (6-12, 2-3 MAC) not only hold the series at home, 27-6, they also control the overall series, 38-30.

Ball State has won 77 percent of the games at Worthen Arena, making it arguably the toughest place to play in the MAC.

Christian said if the Flashes want to get a win tomorrow night, they have to come to compete.

“We have to walk away from each possession knowing that we really battled that whole possession,” Christian said. “If you do that, then you can pile enough of those to have a chance to win the game.”

The Flashes won the last season’s match up, 84-71.

Both teams are coming off wins in their home divisions, but that is not something to harp on, Christian said.

“If you want to survive league play, you can’t dwell on anything that has happened previously,” Christian said.

The Flashes, 10-8 overall, are now above .500 in the MAC after beating Bowling Green, 62-61, Saturday at home. Ball State, after losing six consecutive games, is now on a two-game win streak, including the most recent win,64-57, at Central Michigan on Friday.

The game marks the first of two games away from the M.A.C. Center for the Flashes. Christian said he has been happy with his team’s effort in the other road games and this is a good opportunity for Kent State to finally get its second win away from home.

“We’ve played five MAC games, three of them on the road and all three in tough environments,” Christian said. “And in every one of those games we were in a position to win at some point. Now we just have to kick the door in a little bit and find a way to do it.”

Contact men’s basketball reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].