Haynes looks to lead team to victory at OU

Sean Joseph

Senior guard DeAndre Haynes takes a jump shot during the Flashes’ 70-52 win over Buffalo Sunday. The Flashes travel to Ohio tonight to take on the Bobcats at 7 p.m. SAMANTHA RAINWATER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

DeAndre Haynes has scored 1,055 career points.

The senior guard tops the Kent State career steals list with 207.

He is a third-year starter.

And since he’s been on the team, it has posted a .698 winning percentage against Mid-American Conference opponents.

But there’s something he has yet to do that he has the chance to do tonight.

He has never beat Ohio in Athens.

“It would be a great win for me and the team,” Haynes said. “We’ve always talked about it but have never been able to win there.”

For the last three years, the Kent State (14-6, 8-1 MAC) and Ohio (12-5, 6-3 MAC) men’s basketball teams have split their regular season series 3-3, with the home team always victorious. Last season, the Bobcats defeated the Flashes twice and ousted them from the MAC Tournament in Cleveland in their third meeting of the season.

“They knocked us out last year, which makes this game even bigger,” Haynes said. “They won the championship, and they got a lot of publicity for it. So it’d be a big win for Kent State basketball.”

The Flashes are coming off a 70-52 win over Buffalo Sunday and have won eight of their last nine games.

The Bobcats are currently No. 4 in the MAC East and are coming into tonight’s game with a two-game losing streak.

“If you lose, they chant your score and say ‘losing team’, then their score and say ‘winning team’. That chant has been getting under my skin for years,” Haynes said. “I’d love to get a win over there and say that chant back at them. I don’t know if I’d get a technical or not. I would love to shut them up and give them their third straight loss.”

Kent State coach Jim Christian only has won once in Athens in his five years at Kent State. He said Ohio is still the championship team they were last year and have the biggest home-court advantage in the league.

“They have all their players back, and until somebody beats them, they’ll be the champs,” Christian said. “They’re experienced and play well offensively. They’re coming off two losses, so it’s important for us to get off to a good start, guard well, rebound well and play with confidence offensively.”

Haynes said Ohio’s guards are great at penetrating in the paint, but if Kent State can stop them, they can get the win.

“If you win any game on the road it’s a big win, but if you beat Ohio at their house it’s huge,” Haynes said. “Besides winning the MAC, it’s the only thing missing in my career.”

Contact men’s basketball reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].