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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Kent State Golden Flashes (Game 11)

The room for error is dwindling for the Beavers, as they welcome Kent State to Corvallis.

NCAA Basketball: MAC Conference Tournament-Akron vs Kent State Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Kent State Golden Flashes (8-2)

  • Head Coach: Rob Senderoff (8th Season)
  • Top Performer: Jaylin Walker (25.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG)
  • Points For: 81.0 PPG (T-55th)
  • Points Against: 73.0 PPG (T-218th)
  • Last Game/Streak: 83-70 Loss at Louisville (1L)

The Skinny

With just two games left on the Beavers’ non-conference schedule left before Pac-12 play begins, Oregon State will welcome an old friend in Kent State to Corvallis for the return game of last season’s clash between the two squads. In that outing, the Golden Flashes used a 52-point offensive display in the second half to hold off Oregon State, 79-78.

In this one, head coach Wayne Tinkle and company will be hoping for a different result.

The bad news for the Beavers is that Kent State’s prolific back-court duo of Jaylin Walker (25.2 PPG) and Jalen Avery (14.8 PPG), who combined for 42 points in last year’s meeting, are still around and are once again leading the Golden Flashes offensive attack. However, it’s important to note that they’ve also found new counterparts in a pair of JUCO transfers named Antonio Williams (12.9 PPG) and C.J. Williamson (10.7 PPG), who add to the list of natural scorers on the Golden Flashes depth chart.

Like many teams who have adjusted to a more modern style, Kent State plays with a deep slew of guards and some rotational undersized bigs, who allow Senderoff to exploit mismatches and play with tempo at any moment’s notice. Even the Golden Flashes regular front-court, anchored by the 6’ 8” combo of Phillip Whittington (8.8 PPG) and Akiean Frederick (5.8 PPG), have been known to play from the outside-in, to both free up and incorporate the skill-sets of talents like Walker and Avery.

In Lehman’s terms, Kent State is a well-schooled team when it comes to who takes their shots on the offensive end.

For Oregon State to find success against the Golden Flashes, it’ll be the same old story of trying to limit their opponent’s chances in transition and keep the game played at the Beavers’ pace, which they did soundly in their marquee match-ups against Missouri, Saint Louis and Texas A&M. Yet, in those contests, the Beavers failed to make the “winning plays” down the stretch that had victory elude them.

At some point during this season, the moral victories will have to wear off for this unit and the real victories will have to kick-in. Otherwise, another season hovering around the .500 mark could be headed Oregon State’s way.

Player To Watch

Jaylin Walker (Senior): Jaylin Walker is everything a coach could want in a senior guard, as he’s not only stepped up his scoring and rebounding in his fourth go-round at Kent State, but also his efficiency as well. Walker is shooting a blistering 55.6% percent from behind the arc this season, while leading the Golden Flashes with a stunning 25.2 points per game average. Since his return to the mix (five games ago), Kent State is also averaging 76.8 points per contest, despite a severe step-up in the magnitude of competition on the Golden Flashes slate.

NCAA Basketball: MAC Conference Tournament-Akron vs Kent State Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

  • Date: Friday, December 21st
  • Time: 12:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Network