Courtesy of Kent State Athletics
The last time the Kent State men’s basketball team faced the University at Buffalo it lost 64-51.
The Flashes dropped to 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference and were 9-9 overall. They were tied for fifth in the conference.
Today KSU is 15-4 in the MAC and 20-9 overall, and it is eyeing a regular-season championship.
Kent State is on an 11-game winning streak, it is the fifth-longest active win streak in all of Division I basketball and is the highest as a program since the 2001-02 season.
The 2021-22 Flashes are in good company, the 2001-02 team won a MAC record 21-straight games before cruising through the conference tournament and making a run into the NCAA Elite Eight.
Antonio Gates, a dual-athlete who was also on KSU’s football squad and later became an All-Pro tight end for the NFL, was a forward on that team.
The first place team in the MAC is Toledo (16-3 MAC, 24-6 overall), who are one game ahead of the Flashes. The Rockets have already clinched at least a share of the regular-season title, and Kent State can share that title with a win and Toledo loss.
The Rockets play Bowling Green (6-13, 13-17), which is in ninth place in the MAC, Friday at 6:30 p.m.
KSU has a tough opponent in Buffalo (13-5, 19-9), which is in fourth place in the conference.
The Bulls are third in the conference in scoring (80.9 points per game) and field-goal percentage (.457 per game). They are first in rebounds per game with an average of 42.9.
Buffalo’s defense is sixth in points per game (72.4) and fourth in opponent field goal percentage (42 percent). Its top scorer is senior forward Jeenathan Williams, who is fourth in the MAC in scoring with an average of 19.2 points per game.
Kent State is led by its powerful defense. It is second in the conference in points allowed per game (64.1) and in opponent FG percentage (40.2 percent).
KSU’s offense is seventh in the conference in scoring with an average of 71 points per game, but it has scored above that number in nine of its 11 last wins. It is fourth in the MAC from the field (44.1 percent per game).
Redshirt junior guard Sincere Carry is the fifth best scorer in the conference. He averages 18.7 points per game. He has scored 20 or more points in each of his last three games, including a 42-point performance against Ball State.
Kent State takes on Buffalo Friday at 6 p.m. at the M.A.C. Center, and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPNU.
Coach Rob Senderoff hopes to see KSU students in-person.
“I hope whoever is reading this is planning on being there on Friday night,” Senderoff said. “We’ve had a special season so far, and we have a chance to play a great team on national television, and have a chance to have won 12 straight games heading into the conference tournament.”
“We’d love to have a great crowd, we certainly need everyone in Kent and certainly on campus to be there and be loud.”
Jimmy Oswald is a sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]