Men's basketball looks to beat Kent State in rematch at McGuirk Arena
After losing its previous two home games, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team will aim to earn its ninth win at McGuirk Arena this season.
The Chippewas (13-7, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) will return to their home floor on Jan. 27 to rematch Kent State (10-10, 4-3) at 4:30 p.m. in McGuirk Arena.
The Chippewas are currently tied for last in the MAC West Division with Eastern Michigan (11-9, 2-5) while KSU is tied for second in the MAC East with Miami (Ohio) (11-9, 4-3).
Back on Jan.6, CMU was blown out by KSU 85-69, starting the Chippewas four-game conference losing streak.
Head coach Keno Davis said he doesn't expect anything new from KSU because they've played the same since he arrived at CMU in 2012.
“They play extremely physical by getting after you, pushing and shoving and doing everything that people who enjoy watching physical basketball like,” Davis said. “I felt like we played well there other than the start we had, which we haven't fixed yet, but I feel like if we can fix that we will be right in the position we need to be to be successful this year.”
Earlier this week CMU fell to Miami 70-61, as they never overcame the halftime deficit.
Sophomore guard Kevin McKay who scored 17 second half points said he was disappointed in the loss but is ready to get back on the floor against KSU.
“If we get a couple more stops and hit a few more shots to fall we would probably win that game,” McKay said. “We just have to get back in the gym and work to get ready for Kent (State) who is another tough team.”
Transfer guard Gavin Peppers went to Brewster Academy high school with KSU’s senior guard Kevin Zabo who he said he’s “fully familiar” with.
“I know what type of player (Zabo) is and he’s gotten a lot better,” Peppers said. “They are a really aggressive bunch and we have to be ready to guard their set of guards including Kevin.
“They really hurt us at their place, but if we can shut those three down we should be alright.”
The trio of guards KSU presents includes Zabo and junior guards Jaylin Walker and Jalen Avery. They average a combined 38.7 points per game of the team total 73.8 points per. Walker ranks fifth in the MAC in scoring at 16.8 points per game.
When they played CMU earlier this season, the three teammates combined for 55 points, with Walker scoring a game-high 26 points, going 6-of-9 from 3-point distance. Inside, the 7-foot junior center Adonis De La Rosa had a double-double with 24 points and 14 boards. De La Rosa is fourth in the MAC with 157 rebounds (7.9 per game) on the year.
The Golden Flashes hit a season-high 11 3-pointers against CMU and also scored their second most points against a MAC opponent this season with 85 (the most was 88 against Ball State this week).