Statistically, Western Michigan and Kent State were very close going into Saturday’s game at the M.A.C. Center, but Western won just about every battle and the game, 66-61.
The teams had identical records of 8-6 overall, 1-1 in the MAC going into the game.
The key stats on Saturday:
Field goal percentage: Western Michigan 47.2 percent, Kent State 35.0. (Before the game, WMU averaged 40.3, Kent State 39.7.)
Rebounding: Western Michigan 40, Kent State 27. (WMU had been plus-four in rebounding margin, Kent State plus-six.)
Blocked shots: Western Michigan 9, Kent State 0. (WMU had averaged 3.3, Kent State 3.1.)
Points in the paint: Western Michigan 38, Kent State 22. (There are no season statistics in that category, though KSU’s strength is working the ball to all-MAC forward Jordan Korinek, who averages almost 20 points a game.)
Korinek had 22 Saturday, but had to work hard against 6-2 Western Michigan center Marley Hill, who blocked six shots in the game. At least four came against Korinek. I can’t remember four blocks against Korinek before.
“They were playing pretty physical defense,” coach Todd Starkey said after the game. “We had a hard time getting to the spots where we typically get the touches on the offensive end.”
Western Michigan jumped to a 10-2 lead (“We weren’t the aggressor,” Starkey said) and never trailed in the game.
Kent State closed the score to 39-37 at the end of the third quarter, but Western scored the first nine points of the fourth.
“We gave back everything we had fought so hard for in a matter of a minute and a half,” Starkey said. “We settled for contested jump shots, and they drove right down our throat. You just can’t do that in MAC play against a good team.”
- Neither team shot a free throw in the first half. For Kent State. That hasn’t happened in Starkey’s two years in Kent. Last season KSU was third in the country in made free throws and won about 10 games at the free throw line. For the game, the Flashes were 13 of 14 (Korinek was seven of seven and Carter six of seven). Western was 13 of 18, though nine of those free throws came in the last three minutes when Kent was fouling to get the ball back.
- Megan Carter had 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. She made only one turnover; she had a total of 11 in the previous two games. In the three games since she became eligible at the end of fall semester, she’s averaged 15.3 points a game.
- Kent State, which has struggled with turnovers all season, had one of its better games in that category. The Flashes committed 14 to Western Michigan’s 22, but they scored only 17 points off of them while WMC had 14 points off of KSU turnovers.
- Ali Poole had three three-pointers for nine points for KSU. She has seven three-point baskets in her last two games. She also had three assists, two steals and one turnover in the game.
- Point guard Deja Wimby led Western with 17 points. All-MAC forward Breanna Mobley had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Broncos. Hill had 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals to go with her six blocks.
- Western, which has 12 players averaging more than 10 minutes a game, had only seven play that much Saturday. So did Kent State.
Kent State stays home to play Eastern Michigan Wednesday. The Flashes beat Eastern at Eastern 67-60 in their conference opener, but the Eagles have won both their games since. Saturday they beat Toledo (10-5, 1-2), 70-57, in Ypsilanti. Eastern is 6-8 on the season and 2-1 in the MAC.
Other MAC scores
- Central Michigan has the league’s only 3-0 record. The Chippewas (11-3 overall) beat Miami (9-5, 1-2) in Miami, 84-66.
- Buffalo (11-3,, 2-1) lost its first game, 86-84, in overtime at Northern Illinois. Northern, which beat Kent State 81-79 on Wednesday at home, is 10-4, 2-1 in the MAC.
- Ball State (13-1, 2-1) beat Bowling Green (8-6, 0-3) at Bowling Green, 84-73.
- Ohio (8-6, 2-1) beat Akron (6-8, 0-3), 70-67, in overtime in Athens.
MORE TO COME