Flashes face test in MAC

Senior guard Jay Youngblood attempts a layup during Kent State’s 84-71 win over Ball State on Jan. 11. Kent State will travel to Northern Illinois on Saturday. ALLIEY BENDER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Kent State saved its best Mid-American Conference West Division opponent for last.

The Flashes will try to go undefeated in the MAC West against Northern Illinois at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday in DeKalb, Ill.

The Flashes (11-5, 5-0 MAC) are tied atop the MAC East with Akron and Miami. The Huskies (9-4, 4-2 MAC) are the only MAC West team with more than one conference victory.

Kent State’s last game was a 77-62 victory over Western Michigan on Tuesday. The Flashes currently have a five-game winning streak dating back to the Jan. 4 conference opener against Toledo.

Northern Illinois is coming off a 64-59 victory over Ohio and was the first team from the MAC to beat the Bobcats. The Huskies have won three of their last four games, two of which were narrow victories over MAC East Bowling Green and Buffalo.

The Flashes are led in scoring by senior Jay Youngblood, who averages about 15 points a game. Yet Youngblood is not alone as the Flashes had five players score double digits against Western Michigan.

Northern Illinois senior Todd Peterson averages 11 points per game. He leads the Huskies along with junior Mike McKinney, who averages 10.

After Saturday’s game, the Flashes start their MAC East schedule against Miami at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Oxford.

– Sean Joseph