Ohio Bobcats (8-7 SU, 4-5-1 ATS, 7-3 O/U) vs. Kent State Golden Flashes (7-9 SU, 4-7 ATS, 6-5 O/U)
NCAAB: Friday, January 12, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Ohio Bobcats -2. Total: 151.5
The Kent State Golden Flashes have three of their last four games heading into a home date with the Ohio Bobcats at the Kent State Mac Center MAC Center on Friday night. Also 2-6 in their last eight contests, the Golden Flashes are coming off a setback against Miami (OH) on Tuesday. The Bobcats have alternated wins and losses dating back to Dec. 29 and they most recently fell to Ball State earlier this week.
Rare loss to the Cardinals
Ohio had won eight in a row in its head-to-head series with Ball State, but that streak ended with a 75-68 setback on Tuesday. Four Bobcats finished in double-figures but the team shot just 37.7 percent overall from the floor (a more respectable 44.4 percent from beyond the three-point line). Ohio allowed the Cardinals to go 50 perfect from the field (28-for-56), the best any Bobcat opponent has mustered during this 2017-18 campaign. Freshman guard Teyvion Kirk led the Bobcats with a game-high 17 points while making 10 free-throws, and backcourt mate Mike Laster added 13 points for his 11th consecutive performance in double-figures. Junior guard Jordan Dartis went 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from downtown to contribute 13 points. Graduate forward Kevin Mickle added 10 points, six rebounds, and two steals off the bench, while junior forward Doug Taylor chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.
The Bobcats at least managed to pick up their first Mid-American Conference victory of the season last weekend, when they defeated Northern Illinois 78-68. Laster poured in a career-high 31 points on 10-of-12 shooting with a career-high five three-pointers to become the first Bobcat to score at least 30 points in a game this season. The senior is averaging a team-high 16.9 points per game (eighth in the MAC) and is shooting 50.3 percent (93-of-185) from the field. He is shooting 40.6 percent (28-of-69) from beyond the arc, which leads the team and ranks seventh in the conference.
Dishing and blocking
Kent State junior point guard Jalen Avery leads the nation with a 7.11-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Avery has committed the fewest turnovers (nine) of all players in the country that qualify (minimum of three assists per game). The Covington, Ky. native leads the second-ranked player in that department, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman of Michigan, by 1.11 assists. Avery has not yet committed a turnover against MAC competition and has only three in his last seven overall games. He is pushing the pace for Kent State, too, as the team is averaging 70.5 possessions per game–most in the program since 2001-02. The Golden Flashes are most successful when they can get on the run. In wins, Kent State has averaged 74 possessions compared to 69 in losses.
Forward Danny Pippen is making a big impact on the defensive end of the floor for the Golden Flashes as one of the conference’s best shot-blockers. Pippen has 21 blocks so far, averaging 1.4 per contest. At his current pace, he will finish the year at 48 shots blocked–which would match Jimmy Hall for the program’s sixth-best single-season mark.
The Ohio Bobcats are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last five road games
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the Mid-American Conference
- 1-4 ATS in their last five road games against teams with winning home records
The Kent State Golden Flashes are:
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against the Mid-American Conference
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against Ohio
- 5-1 ATS in their last six home games against Ohio
The Bobcats have been getting bitten by the injury bug this season. Sophomore forward Jason Carter, a 2017-18 Preseason All-MAC East Division Team selection, has missed 12 games with a lower-leg issue. Freshman forward Ben Vander Plas has not yet kicked off his career due to a lower-leg injury of his own. Laster and Dartis have also been injured at times. Kent State has won four in a row in its head-to-head series with Ohio. The Bobcats are 1-4 ATS in their last five on the road, 1-4 ATS in their last five on the road against opponents with winning home records, and 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Mid-American Conference. Kent State is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 against the Mid-American Conference, 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings between the two teams, and 5-1 ATS in their last six at home against Ohio. Count on those trends continuing.