MAC TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS: KENT STATE VS. AKRON
What: MAC Tournament Semifinals
Who: No. 4 Kent State (20-12) vs. No. 1 Akron (24-6)
When/Where: Tonight, 6:30 p.m./Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland
Radio/TV: WHLO 640 AM/STO
Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (40-24, 2nd season); Keith Dambrot, Akron (208-93, 9th season at Akron; 316-163 overall).
Previous Matchups: Akron defeated the Flashes 71-67 in Kent on Jan. 19, but Kent State returned the favor by defeating the host Zips 68-64 in the regular season finale last Friday.
Series: Kent State leads 70-67.
KENT STATE LEADERS
(After regular season)
Senior forward Chris Evans ranks fourth in the MAC in scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg), and third in steals (2.0 spg). Senior guard Randal Holt is second on the team in scoring (14.4 ppg). He leads the MAC in 3-pointers made (80) while shooting 38.6 percent from long range, and also leads the conference in free-throw shooting percentage (.856). Sophomore guard Kris Brewer is third on the team in scoring (9.5 ppg) and leads the MAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (45.3 percent).
The Zips earned their second straight MAC regular season championship, but lost two of their last three league contests. They also lost junior point guard Alex Abreu, who was arrested the day before their regular-season finale against the Flashes (March 7) and charged with possession and trafficking marijuana. Akron ranks second in the MAC in scoring offense (73.3 ppg), scoring defense (62.6 ppg), field-goal percentage (45.7) and rebounding margin (+5.7), and first in field-goal percentage defense (39.3), offensive rebounds (13.1 orpg) and blocks (5.7 bpg). The Zips are led by 7-foot senior center Zeke Marshall, who ranks first in the MAC in blocked shots (3.6 bpg) and field-goal percentage (.659). The First Team All-MAC performer leads Akron in scoring (13 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (6.9 rpg) behind 6-7 junior Demetrius Treadwell, a Second Team all-conference choice who averages 11.2 points and 7.7 boards per outing.
Kent State has won six straight games and nine of its last 11 since starting the MAC season 2-5. The Flashes reached 20 wins for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons with a 70-68 victory over Buffalo in the MAC tourneys third round on Thursday. Kent State ranks first in the MAC in 3-point field-goal percentage (.373). If the Flashes dont win the MAC Tournament, they will still play in the postseason. Kent State has already received invitations to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the College Basketball Invitational Tournament.
Next: The winner will play the survivor of Fridays other semifinal between Ohio and Western Michigan in the MAC Tournament Championship Game Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in Cleveland. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.