Chart by the the MAC office.
Five games ago Kent State was last in the MAC in field goal defense and third in points per game.
Today they’re first in defense and last in points per game.
It’s a crazy reversal, typified by Saturday’s game against Ohio. The Flashes held OU to 63 points, 14 points below the Bobcats’ average, and to 34% shooting, Ohio’s lowest of the year against a MAC team.
Meanwhile, Kent State’s 57 points was its third lowest of the year. and eight points below its average.
It makes for a strange report card in what was one of the Flashes’ best games of the season. Ohio is 15-7 and in second place in the MAC at 7-3. The Bobcats were a unanimous preseason choice to win the league, though Central Michigan has proven that wrong.
In the most recent five games, which are half of the MAC season so far, Kent State’s record is just 2-3. But look at the scoring numbers:
GAMES 1-5: Kent State averaged 72.6 points per game. Opponents averaged 69.8.
GAMES 6-10: Kent State averaged 58.2. Opponents averaged 60.8.
The quality of the opposition isn’t that different. The first five opponents’ combined MAC records are 24-28. The last five are 26-25.
I’m not quite sure what to make of all that. Kent State is clearly playing better defense; its games last week against Bowling Green and Ohio are clear proof to that. But it’s hard to figure what’s happened to its offense. Second-half opponents don’t have a particularly slower style of play. Kent didn’t have point guard Asiah Dingle in two games in the second five, but the Flashes split those.
I have no answers. But it is interesting. On to the report card on the Ohio game.
Ohio 63, Kent State 57
Score 70 points on offense: 57. As I said above, KSU’s third lowest total of the season. NOT ACHIEVED.
Hold opponent under 70: 63. Against one of the league’s best offensive teams, A MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT.
Make 40% of shots: 40.0. On the nose. But in the second half, KSU’s percentage was 29. Still, ACHIEVED.
Hold opponent under 40%: 33.9 Kent State’s third best of the season. Ohio’s fourth worst of the season. ACHIEVED.
Outscore opponent by five on free throws: Here’s the biggest reason Kent lost. Ohio was 16 of 21. Kent State two of eight. That’s the fewest foul shots the Flashes have made in a game since 2015. DEFINITELY NOT ACHIEVED.
Outscore opponent by five points off turnovers: Ohio leads the MAC in turnover margin and had seven fewer turnovers than the Flashes (17-10). Points off turnovers was closer, 18-14 Ohio. In the second half, it was 14-4 for the Bobcats. NOT ACHIEVED.
Have 14 assists: 12 on 26 baskets. The percentage is OK. In the first half, the Flashes had nine assists, which looked great. But they only had nine baskets in the second half, which doesn’t give a lot of opportunity for assists. NOT QUITE ACHIEVED.
Get 10 points from the bench: 19, thanks to Dingle off the bench (10 points) and a good game by Hannah Young (seven points). ACHIEVED.
BOTTOM LINE: Quality of play: B or B+. But it’s not a win.
Around the MAC
Four MAC teams won on the road Saturday, which shook up our “golf” standings.
Central Michigan went to 11-0 with a 99-87 victory at Miami which had won three in a row. The 99 points is the most by a MAC team in league play this season. Gabrielle Bird and Micaela Kelly each had 24 points for Central, which made 17 of 35 three-point shots. Savannah Kluesner had a career-high 35 for Miami. The game was tied at 33 at halftime, but Central scored 37 points in the third quarter.
Toledo beat Buffalo 78-62. Nakiah Black hit four 3-point baskets on her way to 21 points for the Rockets, who shot a season-best 55%. Buffalo’s loss was its third in a row and worst loss at home since 2015. Dyaisha Fair had 20 points for the Bulls.
Eastern Michigan rallied from four points down with two minutes to go to win 83-79 at Western Michigan. Sophomore guard Jenna Annecchiarico scored a career-high 31 points, making five of 10 three-point attempts. Areanna Combs had 21 for the Eagles. Breanna Mobley had 22 and Jordan Walker 21 for Western.
Northern Illinois beat Bowling Green 92-87 in overtime at BG, scoring five points in regulation’s last 41 seconds to tie the game. Courtney Woods had 32 points for NIU; Madisen Parker had 18 for Bowling Green. The Falcon’s 87 points were 40 more than they scored at Kent State on Wednesday. It was BG’s third overtime loss of the season.
Ball State held Akron to one field goal over the last 9:50 of the game to beat the Zips 60-52 in Muncie. Blake Smith led the Cardinals with 10 points. Haliegh Reinoehl had 13 for Akron. Ball State is 6-0 at home in MAC play.
BEST UPCOMING GAMES: Ball State plays at Toledo Wednesday. BSU leads the Rockets only by a game in the MAC West. Buffalo and Western Michigan, two teams that have struggled in recent weeks, play at Western.
The ‘golf’ standings
They give a team -1 for a road win (a “birdie”) and adds a point for a home loss (a “bogey.” A home win or road loss gets zero (“par”).
- Central Michigan (11-0, 18-4)
- Ohio (8-3, 15-7)
- Ball State (7-3, 15-7)
- Toledo (6-4, 11-10)
- Eastern Michigan (6-5, 11-11)
- Kent State (5-5, 12-9)
- Buffalo (4-6, 13-8)
- Western Michigan (4-6, 11-10)
- Northern Illinois (3-7, 7-14)
- Miami (4-7, 11-12)
- Akron (3-7, 10-11)
- Bowling Green (1-9, 8-14)