In-conference play opened last week and everything was a friggen mess.
The Eastern Michigan Eagles (11-4, 0-2 MAC) dropped their first two in-conference match ups against Ball State and at Miami. Both losses were by one point. Both losses were games that went to overtime. EMU losing back-to-back overtime games hasn't happened in nearly 13 years. It was also bad enough for us to move them from no. 1 to no. 7 in our most recent power rankings.
Meanwhile, the Kent State Golden Flashes (10-5, 1-1 MAC) is coming off of a solid, 2-point victory over Northern Illinois. In there, Devereaux Manley made all five of his 3-pointers in the second half to finish with 19 points, making it his third-straight game scoring in double digits. Averaging 12.6 points per game, Manley's only been held to under 10 points in a game on five occasions this season.
Flashes need to lock down on Karrington Ward
Right now, Karrington Ward averages 14.1 points per game. At Michigan State, Ward only put up seven, where he had an awful 2-for-12 performance in terms of shooting. Since then, the 6-foot-7 do-it-aller-baller put up at least 15 points in the five games leading up to tonight's game. He also had a double-double performances against Ball State with 15 and 10 and a pair of assists, steals and blocks for good measure. Okay, so it was against Ball State and I know what the final score was, you don't have to remind me, but still, that was Ward's fourth double-double of the season.
Encore for Manley?
In the first half of the NIU game, Manley was 0-for-3 from 3-point range. And then there was a second half of the NIU game, which is where Manley shot 5-for-5 from that category, finishing with 19 points. That's not a skill that he just recently picked up. He's a 46 percent shooter from deep, averages 3.5 3-point field goals made per game, and attempts about 7.5 per game. There was only one game where he didn't make a shot that deep (11/23 vs. Yale), and has made at least five on four occasions.
What would a win mean?
For the Eagles, it'd be an "oh gee, finally", but you gotta get the first one. Better late than never, too. Their next game after this is at home against Northern Illinois, then on the road at Bowling Green, then Central Michigan. The Eagles are really going to need these next two games before those tough road games.
As for the Golden Flashes, they still have two more home games against Ohio and Toledo. So getting wins at home while you still can is always a good investment. Also, their next road game is at Ball State. With the way that they're playing right now, I'd aim to be 4-1 heading into Muncie as well.
You can watch this game tonight at 7 p.m. by either 1) going to the game or 2) clicking HERE.