Flashes look for their first road win Friday at 1-6 Robert Morris

So far this season Kent State hasn’t won a road game.

It has its best chances over the next three games.

The Flashes, 3-4 so far this season, play at 1-6 Robert Morris Friday, then break for final exams. Then they play 2-6 Saint Bonaventure Dec. 17 and 1-8 NJIT Dec. 21. Both Robert Morris and Saint Bonaventure have played some good teams, so they probably are somewhat better than their records.

Robert Morris is the the favorite to win the Northeastern Conference, a league it has dominated for some years. Last year the Colonials were 25-8, the previous year 22-11. But in those years, RMU played among the softest schedules in the country — each time ranking above 300 in strength of schedule among the 349 Division I teams. Part of that is because the Northeastern Conference is one of the country’s weakest leagues.

So far this season, Robert Morris has lost to Youngstown State (5-2), Rhode Island (5-2), SMU (5-4), Loyola-Marymount (5-2) and No. 14 Iowa (6-2). The only game the Colonials lost by more than 10 points was on Sunday to Iowa (92-63), though they were within four points halfway through the third quarter. Kent State routed common-opponent Youngstown State 62-34 last month.

The Flashes beat RMU 46-31 on the road last season, allowing their fewest points in more than two decades. The previous year Robert Morris beat the Flashes 68-65 in overtime in Kent.

The Colonials have struggled to score this season, averaging just 56.9 points a game (307th in the nation). Their team shooting percentage is 34.6, 318th in the country.

RMU gets almost half of its points on three-point shots and makes about 36 percent  from that range. Leading scorer (10 points per game) is preseason all-NEC center Nneka Ezeigbo, a 6-2 junior. Top three-point shooters are guards Megan Callahan, Esther Castedo and Honoka Ikematsu, who combined average 42 percent shooting from distance.

Eight of RMU’s 14 players are from outside the United States.

Kent State is coming off a difficult 61-55 road loss at Wright State. Both teams made 8 percent of their three-point shots and less than 30 percent of all shots. Wright State (5-3) is ranked 18th in the latest CollegeInsiders Mid-Major Top 25.

The Flashes lost their other two road games to open the season, falling 73-60 at North Carolina (now 6-4) and 78-61 North Carolina State (9-0 and ranked 10th in the latest AP poll).

Kent State is sixth best in the MAC and 50th lowest in the country in turnovers, averaging 15 a game. The Flashes are plus-2.86 in turnovers margin. Kent hasn’t had a positive turnover margin for the season since 2010-11.

Best MAC rankings for the Flashes are third in blocked shots (3.43 a game) and fourth in field goal defense (36.5 percent). Top individuals are Megan Carter, seventh in scoring at 18.0 per game; Merissa Barber-Smith, 10th in rebounding at 6.6 and third in blocked shots at 1.4, and Lindsey Thall, fourth in blocked shots at 1.4. Carter is fourth in minutes played at 35.3.

How to follow the Robert Morris game

The game starts at 7 p.m. Friday last the North Athletic Complex at Robert Morris. It’s a little more than a 90 minutes drive. RMU is building a new arena, so this game is in the school’s rec center. The school recommends you park on campus and take a shuttle to the game. Here are directions to the RMU campus from its website. Information on the shuttle service. is here. Admission is free.

Audio broadcast starts about 6:45 p.m. on Golden Flash iHeart Radio.

Video is through the Northeastern Conference.

Live statistics are available through the RMU website.

Links

Preview from Kent State women’s website, including links to statistics, roster and more.

Preview from Robert Morris website, including links.

MAC statistics, including standings.

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